Africa Travel Week

CATCH-UP: The Elephant in the Room Talk #1

How Many Elephants, has launched ‘The Elephant in The Room’ talk series to deliver accurate reporting from the front line of conservation and eco-tourism in Africa to the media.

The first talk looks at how the collapse of eco-tourism in Africa is impacting the rural communities and the wildlife. It is now available on demand for a donation of £10 which will support rangers on the front line in Africa, including the Black Mambas and Akashinga.

Uuse HMEATW_100 code to listen to the talks ‘On Demand’ free of charge. 

Prominent minds in conservation and travel are brought together, including, founder of How Many Elephants, Holly Budge, who highlights the important role elephants play as a keystone species. Holly states: “Losing these important ecosystem engineers will be of extreme detriment to the environment and beyond; If the elephants go extinct, entire ecosystems could follow.”

Holly also speaks about the vital work of the rangers on the front line and how they need our support now more than ever: “It was a rare privilege to immerse myself with the Akashinga Rangers in Zimbabwe and The Black Mambas in South Africa. I was able to learn what motivates these pioneering women to pursue their multifaceted roles as protectors, educators and beacons of hope. They are changing attitudes towards the role of women in Africa and beyond. Navigating the fundraising space is challenging right now.

“Talking about conservation issues when humanitarian issues are happening simultaneously is challenging too but the bigger picture remains; COVID-19 has demonstrated that nothing exists in isolation and everything is connected. Whether we are talking about climate change, biodiversity loss or COVID-19, it all relates to our fragile relationship with nature”.

Niall McCann, National Geographic Explorer and Biologist, gives an impassioned talk, speaking about his work as founder of National Park Rescue in Zimbabwe. They have succeeded in transforming a poacher’s paradise into a thriving park, with well trained and motivated rangers.

Niall said: “It is too early to say what the effect of coronavirus will be on conservation in Africa, but it is likely to be disastrous, at least in the short-term. This is in part due to the collapse of the tourism industry that funds so much conservation in Africa, and in part due to significant urban-rural migration, putting ever more pressure on the natural habitats that are already struggling to provide sufficient ecosystem services to rural people. We are here to ensure that, when the pandemic is over, and the threat to nature subsides, there is still something left”.

Many safari lodges that offer protection to wildlife have been forced to reduce operations or close their doors. Beks Ndlovu, founder of African Bush Camps, says: As a number of our camps are located in remote areas, it’s impossible to leave the properties unattended. We want to keep our staff motivated, oversee the surrounding environment and help protect the wildlife roaming our properties. We also have a responsibility to preserve our resources and continue giving back to our communities”.

If you have a holiday booked, it is strongly urged that you postpone your trip rather than cancel, so the money can be invested into keeping the lodges open and the rural workers employed.

How Many Elephants

UK registered charity, How Many Elephants (1186238), is a powerful design-led awareness campaign and innovative in its 100% non-gory approach. It showcases the annual poaching rate of 35,000 elephants in Africa in a visual exhibition to inspire and educate a global audience about the devastating impacts of the ivory trade. In essence, it uses design as a powerful communication tool to bridge the gap between scientific data and human connection. How Many Elephants collaborates with and supports female rangers on the front line in Africa, as well as working with direct action NGO’s, conservationists, scientists, politicians, academics, creatives, businesses and change-makers who dare to say, “I can make a difference in this world”.