This winter I escaped the cold in Yukon and headed straight to Africa, with a sixty degree Celsius increase in temperature. My assignment, with the World Elephant Centre near Serengeti, was to develop preliminary interpretive storylines on the conservation crisis facing the African Elephant.
This was a second stage to the work I had conducted previously which focused on developing a concept for the proposed visitor facility. The Kesho Trust continues to play a supporting role in this project. The interpretive materials I was preparing on this trip will be used in an initial facility and for traveling exhibits that promote the World Elephant Centre and explain the desperate need for conservation actions to protect this iconic species. Eventual permanent facilities will include an Interpretive Centre with exhibits, displays and audio visual media as well as a Research Station to monitor the migration movements of these animals and prevent human interference. Indeed, combining science, education and research is the ultimate goal of the World Elephant Centre.
During my field work I had the opportunity to experience these magnificent animals and photograph them at very close range. The World Elephant Centre is located in the midst of the northern park circuit in Tanzania so I manage to get to places like Tarangire, Manyara and Serengeti national parks and especially appreciated visiting friends who are managing the Lamai Camp in northern Serengeti, Nic Kershaw and Jana Arnhold.
For me, the Northern Serengeti bordering Kenya was particularly special, not only from a wildlife perspective but also the wonderful people I met who are equally committed to elephant conservation. I particularly remember the guide, Anaphi who accompanied me on a walking safari. He really added value to my experience by interpreting everything around us, from “ant lions“ to real lions!
To quote Julius Nyerere, first president of Tanzania who wrote the famous Arusha Manifesto stated: “These wild creatures amidst the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration , but are an integral part of our future livelihood and well being.” Never a truer word was spoken.
I’m now ” Out of Africa ” , back home in Yukon , where snow still stubbornly lingers , but my memories of a safari in Tanzania and encountering the largest land animal on Earth remain a highlight of my trip !
Haines Junction, Yukon