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Tracks of Giants

Elephants Without Borders is enthused to be part of Tracks of Giants!

Elephants Without Borders is enthused to be part of Tracks of Giants!

Elephants Without Borders (EWB ) is a charitable organization based in Botswana dedicated to conservation through research and education, a small organization with big ideals — conducting solid, ground-breaking studies on the largest population of earth’s biggest land mammal, that have vast ranges which sweep through areas of land that adjoin five southern African countries, and with that, facing monumentally important conservation issues that have implications for virtually all wildlife species that share habitats with this flagship species. We believe that elephants are ambassadors to conservation in Africa, providing motivation for raising awareness, stimulating action, encouraging funding for conservation efforts, and generating opportunities to reconsider the boundaries between conservation and rural development. By better understanding elephant ecology and sharing this information, we are able to work towards securing key habitats and migratory corridors for wildlife to flourish.

Program Manager, Kelly Landen

Co-Founder & Director, Dr. Mike Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2004, we met Ian and Sharon McCallum when they joined us on a field expedition while we were deploying satellite-GPS collars on elephants in the Nogatsaa area of Chobe National Park. It was a successful exercise, but more importantly, spending time in the bush together, we quickly learned that we all shared common ideas, similar passions for conservation & wildlife, and loved a hefty bush experience! So last year when they visited us again and we learned about Ian’s proposal for the Tracks expedition, we eagerly agreed to help in any way we could.

We quickly pulled out a large map and started talking about the actual elephant migration routes that we had already documented through the years, to help plan the proposed route and see how the team could incorporate as many places as possible to highlight conservation efforts throughout the countries. As we continued talking about the exciting prospects, Mike (Dr. Mike Chase) suggested that what better way to monitor the team’s location than by them carrying an elephant collar throughout the expedition! After all, it has been elephants wearing the monitoring collars that have shown us elephant migration routes, wildlife corridors… specifically their tracks! The collar would be the ideal symbol of how we’ve learned from monitoring elephants and how that knowledge has become our path, leading us towards positive conservation efforts. We explained how easy it would be to follow the journey via the collar’s satellite signal over a real-time map online. With the idea, Ian’s face lit up with further elation and it was quickly agreed to. EWB would donate a collar for the team to carry throughout the expedition and when completed, the collar would be deployed on an elephant to continue the journey of “Tracks.”

The journey is a hugely exciting adventure and we had hoped that we could join the team in as many places as possible. Unfortunately, running a conservation-research organization and having our own field excursions planned, we could not commit to joining them on the entire journey, so we resolved to partake when they hit our personal “home range” in northern Botswana, specifically Savuti in Chobe National Park to the Ngoma gate into Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. Ironically, we’ll be hiking in almost the same area we initially spent in the bush with Ian and Sharon, 8 years ago.

As the team crossed the border, biking into Botswana, mekoro-ing through the Okavango Delta and breaking ashore at the Selinda/Linyanti area, drawing closer and closer to Savuti, we’ve been growing anxious with anticipation. Now, as they kayak down the Savuti River we know all too well, they have finally entered into the elephant “heartland!” From our studies, we know that they are now in the midst of the highest density of elephants within the range.  Well, our time is near and we are eagerly looking forward to joining the team this weekend when they shake off from the Savuti River and slip back into their hiking boots! Best part is that we also know that this expedition is only a beginning to promote conservation awareness, and at the end of it, as the collar is deployed on an iconic individual elephant, the journey will continue!

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