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Introducing Elephant Partners - Maasai Mara

ElephantVoices has initiated a new project in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. The concept, put simply, is to connect individual people - guides, scouts, rangers, researchers, photographers, tourists, people of the Maasai Mara and all people who care - with the lives of individual elephants.

Through use of the Internet and social and educational media our intention is to develop a community of people working together to share their knowledge about the Mara elephants and to monitor and protect them.

Harambee is a Kiswahili word meaning working together for a common purpose. It is our belief that this harambee spirit can engender the understanding, compassion and collective custodianship needed for people and elephants to find ways to coexist in a mutually beneficial way.

One of our first tasks is to collect photographs of individual Maasai Mara elephants and to build a searchable online catalogue - or a Mara Elephants Who's Who Database - where their profiles will be stored. We will also build an observation database, linked to the Who's Who, and an smartphone application for data upload in the field.

A handsome  matriarch and members of her family visit a mud wallow in Naboisho. She is code-named f0184 (f for female) until we know who her relatives are. (©ElephantVoices)
A handsome matriarch and members of her family visit a mud wallow in Naboisho. She is code-named f0184 (f for female) until we know who her relatives are. (©ElephantVoices)

So far, relying on photos that Joyce took in 1998 and with the help of Asuka Takita, Petter Granli, Pat Awori and others, this year, we have catalogued ID photos and basic information for over 260 adult elephants. Based on these photographs we have already learned that some individuals move back and forth between Musiara and Naboisho, a distance of almost 50 km.
Not surprising, perhaps, but each piece of information makes us more knowledgable and better able to find solutions to problems.

We are enormously pleased with the enthusiasm we have received thus far. We have a long way to go to catalogue all of the Mara elephants and to gather and share information about them, but that is where you come in! We will soon be posting information about how you can participate in Elephant Partners. We hope that you will join us in this endeavour - read more about the project here.

Stay tuned for information to come!


Matriarch f0001 seen in 1998 near Musiara swamp...
 


...and 12 years later on Mara Naboisho Conservancy 50 km to
the east. (Photos ©ElephantVoices)