Storm Blog

Looking back and forward to Bring the Elephant Home

Looking back and forward to Bring the Elephant Home

 

A lot of you guys may not know me, so let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Florette and I am a former board member of Storm (Airbenders 2016-2017) and former Kolokolo committee member, and being a member of the last committee is the reason why I’m writing this guest blog. Since I’m currently in South-Africa to spend a week at Antoinette’s (founder of Bring the Elephant Home) and help her out, I thought it might be fun to look back at how our money was spent, how I helped here and how you can get involved!   

 

Everyone knows that we choose a different Kolokolo charity (almost) every year and in the year 2016-2017 our charity was Bring the Elephant Home. During that year we raised an amount of almost 2700 euros for the project ‘Bee the Change’. In short, this project aims to mitigate human-elephant conflicts by placing beehive fences near cropland (it is scientifically proven that elephants are scared of bees) to divide the cropland of local farmers and the natural habitat of elephants. The cause for human-elephant conflicts is the fastly declining natural habitat of elephants which makes them visit croplands more often to search for food. This in return causes a lot of frustration amongst farmers as elephants damage their properties. These conflicts can, in the worst case, lead to casualties on both sides. The Bee the Change project has a largely positive impact on the biodiversity of the forest, on the lives the elephants that inhabit it, and on the livelihoods of villagers . This project was first implemented in Thailand,  and the plan is now to try and do the same in more countries, South-Africa amongst one of them.

 

 

 

So what happened with our money? With the help of our money, a total of 40 beehive fences could be placed around  a plantation in Khao Pom, in the province of Chanthaburi, Thailand. The farmer got an extensive training on how to be a beekeeper and is said to be very enthusiastic about joining the project as he had a lot of problems with elephants in the past (see photos to meet the farmer).  Also, the perceptions of this farmer will be included in the community research about the effectiveness of the beehive fences. Keep on reading to see how you can get involved too.

So what could I do in only a week’s time? Antoinette currently lives in Dinokeng Game Reserve, South-Africa, where she will also do part of her research. So on the first day I immediately got to work as she is always working on multiple projects simultaneously. Antoinette needed help specifically with improving and creating questionnaires that she will spread amongst landowners, and the local community living next to reserve to create a vision for human-elephant coexistence. And of course there are also more cool parts. Landowners living in the reserve keep track of animal sightings in a Whatsapp Group so when they see something special, they can let everyone know where. So when we got a text about elephant sightings, we immediately jumped in the car to find them (see photo). An interesting and inspirational week to say the least!

 

Now I have some good news, because you as a young scientist-to-be can also help with Antoinette’s research! When the beehive fences where placed, cameras were placed as well to monitor the behaviour of elephants. With this information, conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the fences. But now those videos need to be classified. If you join you’ll do is watch short clips of elephants and then classify them and to determine their sex, age group and the elephant’s behaviour. It’s a cool way to learn more about elephants, their conservation and to do something practical which will benefit the conservation of elephants and the well-being of local farmers. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? If you want to start right away or read more, click on this link. There is even an event which will be hosted by the Future for Nature Academy at Utrecht University on the 25th of April so volunteers can classify videos together, discuss the first results, or get to know other people who are interested in elephant conservation too. To make joining for you guys even easier. You can find more information about the event by clicking on this link.  

If you want more information on BTEH, how to get involved, or anything about what I did here, I’m always free to answer any questions! :)

 

Love,

Florette

https://bring-the-elephant-home.nl/bee-the-change/

 


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