Focus on elephants

This month I have started a new life in unchartered territory! I’ve started work at a new NGO focused on African elephant conservation.

I’m very excited to be able to work in this space as elephants are magnificent creatures and have such an impact on the environment for other little creatures and plant life. They are are the gardeners of Africa. 

As part of my role I am looking into other NGO’S and the work that is already being done and seeing how we can support those activities, whether it is to connect with other NGO’S who can provide complementary functions, finding more efficient solutions to save them costs, bringing across donors to make them aware or supporting local communities in order to prevent them from becoming part of the problem.

The NGO’S I’m most looking forward to meet are those who’ve done so much work in expanding wildlife protected areas and opening up corridors and migratory pathways. Years of dedication, advocacy and strong conservation understanding is needed for this to happen. I would love to see how we can open up more of Africa for these animals who used to roam all over Africa and are now only 1.25% of theirestimated original population!


Drones and Anti-poaching

Earlier this week I gave a talk at a conference on drones spelling out our lessons learnt on using UAV’s for anti-poaching and security in the commercial environment. 

Thankfully it was a well received talk and we got some good enquiries for future projects. It may have had something with us being one of few companies globally to have aviation authority BVLOS licences which means only we can the distances we fly! 

Working in Zimbabwe 

Some of my talk covered parts of the study UDS did with CSIR which outlined the versatility of RPAS as a tool for conservation and counter poaching activities.

Together with the on the ground patrol teams we can achieve great things

A new era of conservation 

It’s been 10 months since we left our urban lives and I’ve been researching a lot these last weeks to work out how to use my skill sets and do work that is ethical or sustainable and helping create a better world.

I’ve been looking at career advice websites, self-help youtube videos and reading articles on technology, engineering, sustainability, conservation and wildlife. It’s been difficult to find something that excited me or looked like it fit. I even went hunting through think tanks which looks like a lot of research academics and politics, which are important parts to achieve the goals I want to achieve, but I’m realistic… working on that really isn’t my forte nor will I last long.
My next steps have been on doing those online free courses to see what strikes my fancy. I tried to download one on psychology but it ended up in Chinese or fully online and as much as I love the Internet,  I really despise programmes that mean I have to have a reliable internet connection. It’s so presumptuous!

So I found a few on mobile apps, digital marketing and bbusiness analysis which are exciting new aspects for me to learn and complement my business development understanding as it is.

Just now I have found a great article and it’s exactly along the lines of what I’ve been thinking and inspired me in the right way!

What the conservation industry needs right now is innovation and Gautam Shah’s article hits the nail on the head.

Stay tuned and I’m going to ponder this one a little longer!

Bat-eared foxes

Easy to identify compared to most foxes, this mammal has conspicuously large ears used to listen for insects underground.  Its staple food is the harvester termite yet they also have been known to eat small rodents and fruit. The bat-eared fox also has the most teeth of Southern African mammals that I studied, which are shaped optimally for eating those tasty termites.

We were lucky enough at Marataba Game Reserve, South Africa to see the bat-eared foxes, like the ones on the featured image, on a regular basis. They are known for being very rare to spot on safari.

This photo above and below are from Central Kalahari Reserve, Botswana.

They are predominantly monogamous and we often saw them only in pairs, or as a family with young.

My favourite observation of these cute animals was watching them forage.  They crouch and put their ears low to the ground to listen for sounds underground.  When they know their food is arriving to the surface, they have this very accurate pounce and digging action.

African Penguin 

Recently, I went to show some family the beautiful city of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Of the many beautiful and insightful things to do there, a visit to Boulders Beach is a must in order to see the endangered African Penguins which have a safe haven in the form of this cordoned off nature reserve.

There is a restricted breeding area where we were fortunate enough to watch a mother warm and care for its young, and a group of young ones obviously trying to learn to swim in the busy surf crashing on some large boulders by the waters edge.  It was great to see these animals in action.

Some stay close to the fence line with the boardwalk and it’s a bit disturbing to see how unaffected by humans they are.

They say their vulnerability as a species has been due to habitat destruction, fisheries reducing food supplies, guano collection (which increase their breeding vulnerability) and oil spills as they are flightless birds so have difficulty avoiding them. In June 1994, approx. 10000 penguins were oiled and 50% died.

African penguins with black oystercatchers

Human activity again is essentially the cause for the drop in population of these little guys!

Wild changes for life. Life for the wild. Conservation in action.