By Susan Canney
Mali is at war. The year –long and now escalating conflict(s) in Mali pose a real threat to the Gourma Elephants, so we have adapted our planning and on-the-ground work to proactively anticipate issues. In this post we will cover:
- The impact of the conflict on the elephant range
- The status of the anti-poaching efforts
- How the project is adapting through mobilising the young men of the area
Project activities continue in the field because the conflict is focused in the towns. The vast area and dispersed populations are challenging in peace-time, but are an asset in times of conflict, and the local population continue life as best they can.
The project has adapted its methods to respond to the challenges, and the perspectives of the local people. This has led to new, creative activities. One major initiative has been mobilising the young men to create “vigilance networks” (réseaux de surveillants locaux) across the elephant range and undertake many other project activities. These include:
- Gathering information about any elephant killings, including the perpetrators, and conveying this to the anti-poaching unit
- Undertaking habitat protection activities such as fire-break construction, thus ensuring less human-elephant competition for resources of water and forage
- Supporting the community elders in spreading the message throughout the community and to the armed groups, that killing elephants steals from the local people More....