How does elephant conservation build a sustainable future for the planet?
Here in Tsavo, we have the great privilege of living alongside and working daily with elephant. One of the reasons it is so much of a privilege is because we get to put personality into the long list of reasons why we become so attached to the creatures we protect here.
In the monitoring we do of these incredible creatures, we get to learn a lot about their behaviour: their foibles, preferences, some of their likes, dislikes and how they behave differently and build varied relationships with the other elephant around them.
(If you want to read an article about some of the incredible personalities we’ve had here in Tsavo read ‘East Africa’s Kanye and Lugard’s Lump: Two of Tsavo Conservation Area’s Local Celebrities’)
A huge part of why we do this weekly bulletin for you – the people that keep our organisation capable of doing the incredibly important work that we do – is so that we can inform you, in what little ways we can, of the lives and ways of the elephant we are all of us protecting. We do so because, in your support of us, you give us the ability to fight for a cause we truly believe in and, in doing so, you deserve to be a part of the magic we get to live.
We also like to give you the more intimate information of elephant conservation because we know and understand the power of that information. In building a bigger, more intimate, more personal relationship with elephant, we get to see them less as cogs in a habitat-sized machine and more as individuals deserving of the ability to live a natural life.
No species needs justification, or the listing of reasons behind why, they deserve the right to an organic existence on this planet. Elephant have fought hard for the space they occupy in the harsh wilds of African savannahs and woodlands; they don’t need an argument behind why they should continue to occupy these spaces.
But, just in case you do want to augment your argument as to why they are deserving of sharing this planet with us, here are a few good points on the importance of elephant conservation in building a sustainable future for the planet:
- Biodiversity preservation: elephant are keystone species, meaning they have a disproportionately large impact on their ecosystems. By protecting elephant and their habitats, we ensure the preservation of diverse plant and animal species that rely on them for survival. This conservation effort contributes to maintaining balanced and healthy ecosystems.
(Read more on the important part that elephant play in their ecosystems here:
- Habitat protection: elephant conservation necessitates safeguarding their natural habitats. These areas are often rich in biodiversity and act as carbon sinks. Preserving these habitats helps combat deforestation, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigates the effects of climate change.
- Ecosystem restoration: elephant are known as “ecosystem engineers” due to their ability to shape their environment. They create water holes, clear pathways, disperse seeds, and promote the growth of various plant species. By conserving elephant, we facilitate the restoration of degraded ecosystems, enhancing their resilience and productivity.
- Community development: many elephant conservation initiatives involve local communities in their efforts. By promoting sustainable practices such as community-based tourism, eco-friendly livelihoods, and responsible land management, elephant conservation projects can bring economic benefits to communities. This fosters a sense of stewardship and encourages long-term engagement in preserving natural resources.
(We wrote an article recently that goes into greater detail about the importance of National Parks and elephant conservation to the peoples of Kenya. We won’t cover all that again here but if you want to read that article, follow this link: ‘Inspiring places: why are national parks so important to the people of Kenya?’)
- Education and awareness: elephant conservation initiatives raise awareness about the importance of wildlife and habitat protection. By educating communities, stakeholders, and the general public, these efforts foster a greater understanding of the interconnectedness between humans, elephant, and the environment. Increased awareness can drive individual and collective action towards sustainable practices and policy changes.
- Conservation innovation: the challenges of elephant conservation have spurred innovative approaches and technologies. From GPS tracking and remote sensing to advanced anti-poaching measures, these innovations not only benefit elephant populations but also contribute to broader conservation and environmental protection efforts.
Overall, elephant conservation goes beyond protecting a single species; it encompasses the preservation of ecosystems, biodiversity, and the promotion of sustainable practices. By prioritizing the well-being of elephant and their habitats, we pave the way for a more sustainable future that benefits both wildlife and human communities.
So, though you may never need these five points on the importance of elephant in building a sustainable future for the planet, here you have them.