With the ever-increasing human populations, space for an increasing elephant population in Southern Africa has steadily declined. As a result more and more questions on whether an increase in elephant numbers will lead to the ultimate destruction of an area have been asked in recent times. Little is known about how elephant populations are limited and how co-existence between elephants and trees was achieved in the past. In order to understand the elephant-tree system, a thorough understanding of what environmental and social factors influence elephant movements and the occupancy of different habitats is needed. In order to protect these African creatures, Mashatu has begun collaring the elephants in this habitat and is tracking their movement patterns and the environmental factors influencing movement with advanced satellite and cellular technology.
Here’s where you come in! You will be one of the very select few to go out on a never before offered “research” game drive with Mashatu. Begin by joining up with the Mashatu research team and jump into a specialized game vehicle to go in search of uncollared elephants. As you approach, your scientists will teach you about dart immobilization, how it works, and how it effects the elephant. Then, after your team immobilizes the elephant, jump out to participate in the actual collaring process of the elephant. You and the Mashatu researchers will affix the collar on the elephant, allowing you and your team new visibility on the movement patterns of the elephant and its interaction with its environment. You will then be given special access to a map showing the daily movements of the specific elephant as well as monthly updates on the research project. As an exclusive participant in this experience, you (or your group combined) will see $5,000 of the total cost of your trip go towards the purchase of the satellite collar for the elephant. This unique experience is a life-changing moment, where you will be face to face with an elephant in a rare, close-proximity environment. You will have a hands-on, positive impact in the lives of these elephants as you volunteer to give back in an effort to join this much needed conservation effort.
*Encounter the Elephants makes a great addition to any signature custom Southern African itinerary, or as a great standalone conservation journey!