Botswana, Africa
Elephants for Africa

Elephants for Africa (EfA) is a Botswana registered NGO committed to the conservation of the African elephant. Their main focus area is the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in north-western Botswana. Following the resurgence of the Boteti river in 2009, this park has seen a rapid increase in its elephant population (~450 in 2003 to ~2700 in 2013) and elephants are now expanding their range westwards and southwards, increasingly moving onto and utilising the community lands bordering the park, which are home to more than 20,000 people.

Around 70% of the local community members are engaged in crop-growing, and the influx of male elephants (who are the main crop raiders) has caused the region to have among the highest reported incidences of human-elephant conflict in Botswana, with elephants posing a real threat to the security and sustainability of the communities surrounding the park.

EfA are closely working with the local communities to teach them how to stay safe around elephant and to develop mitigation strategies against elephants tailored to local conditions, thus contributing to the co-existence of humans and elephants in the region.

Who's Involved
Elephants for Africa
Profits from our shop have been used for this project
A NatureSpy Supported Project
What Elephants for Africa have said...
''The unbureaucratic and fast help provided by NatureSpy means that we are now able to collect data on a much finer scale, increasing the accuracy of our maps and thus improving the recommendations we can give to farmers and government official in terms of elephant management and mitigation.''

Conserving Elephants & Livelihoods
Camera Traps on Highways
How is NatureSpy Helping
  • Botswana harbours approximately one third of the remaining population of African elephants and is often referred to as a conservation success story. However, this success comes at a cost. The majority of the human population in Botswana still lives in rural areas and depends on subsistence farming. The recent expansion of elephant home ranges in Botswana has resulted in a considerable increase in human-elephant conflict in rural communities, many of whom who had previously little to no contact with elephants. Elephants threaten the livelihoods of these communities by destroying their crops and interactions can be life threatening or indeed deadly, leading to resentment of the communities towards elephants and increased political pressure to manage the population by decreasing elephant numbers and movement. With 78% of the elephant range already outside of national parks and increasing drought conditions leading to further range expansions, this situation is only likely to worsen. Key to addressing this situation is to identify the ecological and social factors that influence elephants’ movements across unprotected areas, results which can be used to alleviate human-elephant conflict and to ensure the success of elephant conservation in Botswana.
  • The aim of our current research project is to better understand the movements of elephants onto the community land on the western boundary of the park. Camera traps are set up on so-called elephant highways, which are regularly used by elephants and other species when leaving and entering the national park. The data from the camera traps is used to study the demographics of crop-raiding elephants.While young elephant males staying close to older bulls usually benefit from their knowledge about the spatial and temporal distribution of resources, these leadership roles can become problematic in agricultural areas. Cultivated plants have a high-energy content and are often sought out by older males. Following their older associates onto community land will, thus, get young males into conflict with local farmers. Camera traps further provide data to assess the link between the usage of specific elephant pathways and crop-raiding events. Mapping boundary transgression hotspots relative to field locations provides information which will help mitigating the impacts and dangers that elephants pose by optimising land use planning for agricultural and wildlife purposes.
  • As a relatively small NGO dedicated to conducting research into elephant behaviour in order to help local communities to co-exist with elephants, EfA are often struggling to find funding to cover all aspects of their program. Camera traps are expensive and due to the size of their study area, EfA needed several cameras to cover all relevant elephant highways.
  • We were able to provide EfA with some trail cameras on a long-term loan so the team could begin collecting data, increasing the accuracy of their maps and improving the recommendations they can give to farmers and government officials in terms of elephant management and mitigation.
Camera Used
The Browning Strike Force HD Pro X was used due to its small size, strong battery life and long IR range.
Take a Closer Look
Learn More
Head over to Elephants for Africa's website to find out more about this much needed work.
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