A Look Back At 2016 On The Desert Elephants In Namibia Project!

A Look Back At 2016 On The Desert Elephants In Namibia Project!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 31st Jan 2017

2016 was a year of hard work for all of our volunteers, and none more so than those on the Desert Elephants in Namibia Project! This project is set in the heart of the Namibian Desert, and volunteers have been working throughout the year to help prevent the human-elephant conflict in the area from escalating any further. With that in mind, let’s take a look at exactly what the volunteers and staff have been up to in 2016!

There have been 176 new protection walls built!

Water Tank wall

The building of walls to protect important human infrastructure is a crucial part of this project and with the help of volunteers the team have been able to erect 176 this year. The protection walls are constructed in conjunction with local communities in the area to prevent damage from occurring to their valuable structures. The project has built walls which allow the elephants to reach the water and drink when they want to, whilst still protecting things like windmills, water storage containers, or even pumps. By protecting the structures which are considered valuable, the amount of conflict between humans and elephants has decreased as there is not such fierce competition between the two for water!

A new drinking dam has been constructed too

Elephant Dam

In Anixab, one of the villages the project is based near, the elephants had a tendency to visit the school in an attempt to find water. This was obviously very dangerous and something needed to be done. This is where the project stepped in, and they have now constructed a drinking dam for the elephants to use when they are in the area. The drinking dam is a simple design but it has proven very effective in keeping the elephants out of the school and making sure that the children remain safe whilst they are learning!

The project has expanded and formed a new partnership

Elephant and baby

As well as starting work in new areas of the country, the project has also formed a partnership with a new school in Okongue. The work that the project does with schools is invaluable as it teaches the youngest members of society that it is possible for humans to live in harmony with elephants, and that the solution to any conflict that does arise does not have to come from the barrel of a gun.

What is the plan for 2017?

The Desert Elephant Project has its own education project running, and thanks to all of the funding they have received from volunteers since the project started back in 2008, they have been able to expand this too! The PEACE Project has now moved up into the Northern areas, and the plan is to make the project run on a full time basis in 2017. This will result in many more people being given the chance to learn about the perils that come with human-elephant conflict, and it will also increase awareness of the methods that are available to people to help solve any issues that do occur.

Namibia Volunteer

There will of course be the regular wall and dam building activities going on, as elephants have a funny habit of knocking the walls down after the volunteers have spent a long time building them up, so this is a job which will never be fully completed.

Volunteer building

2016 was a tough year for the team at the project as it was a drought year, but after being promised heavy rains in 2017 by the local weather people, the team in Namibia have their fingers crossed and they are hopeful that the downpours will ease the pressures that elephants put on local farmers and villagers.

If this project sounds like something you would like to get involved with, then why not take a look at the project page and we might be writing about all of your achievements come the end of 2017!

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