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December 27, 2010 / V A Nichols

Africa on the Ground: Elephant Partners – Maasai Mara

Elephant Partners – Maasai Mara.

In early 2011 ElephantVoices will launch “Elephant Partners”, an elephant conservation project based in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. The goal of Elephant Partners is to develop a working model for citizens to monitor, protect and live with elephants. The first half of 2011 will be a pilot period – while we continue to prepare and fundraise for the main project which will start later in the year.

The concept, put simply, is to connect individual people – guides, scouts, rangers, researchers, photographers, tourists, people of the Maasai Mara and all people who care – with the lives of individual elephants. Through use of the Internet and social and educational media our intention is to develop a community of people sharing their knowledge about the Mara elephants and working together to protect them. Harambee is a Kiswahili word meaning working together for a common purpose. It is our belief that this harambee spirit can engender the understanding, compassion, enthusiasm and collective custodianship needed for people and elephants to co-exist in a mutually beneficial way. We hope that it will also help to focus attention on, and bolster the important work of, the newly formed conservancies, since the future of elephants and other landscape species depends upon their commercial success.

We are building an online searchable database to store elephant identification photographs – so that people (Maasai Mara residents and visitors) can get to know elephants by name. And we will be preparing an online database and blog where people can upload observations and comments on elephants (their behavior, movements, interactions, conflicts, threats, etc.) to share with other participants, the authorities and the general public. Through the use of mobile phones we will be developing an efficient way for people to collect and upload observations.

Follow the Mara elephants – and join Elephant Partners!

We are reliant upon on collaboration and participation to build an enthusiastic and committed team of Elephant Partners! Read our project updates here on ElephantVoices.org and on ElephantVoices on Facebook.

You can get to know the elephants by scrolling through Elephant Partners elephant ID database. You may contribute to the project by sharing your own observations and photograps of the Mara elephants on a dedicated blog or through Elephant Partners on Flickr. We will use suitable images (tagged with your name) in the ID database. And in early 2011 you will be able to join Elephant Partners on Facebook.

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