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Kenya Elephant Conservation Project
Recent heated debate on regulating sale of elephant tusks underscores the importance of the elephant to the economies of Eastern and Southern African countries. To meet their huge demand for forage and water, elephant families living in African savanna ecosystems have large home ranges that vary widely in size depending on climatic and environmental factors.
Sometimes, the impact of farming and other human activity reduces water supply in the elephant home range and forces wildlife to move outside the park in search of water during the dry season. Movement of the elephant particularly in areas adjacent to the parks and game reserves creates conflicts with the human population.
Varying elephant migratory patterns have made it hard to acquire data showing the distribution, numbers, and identity of these animals; data that can be used in conservation and wildlife management efforts.
Elephant Project Overview
The project is located in the buffer zone of Kenya?s Amboseli game reserve in the background of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa?s tallest mountain, and Tsavo West national park. The elephant project focuses on collecting field data on animal feeding, distribution, migration patterns and competition with other herbivores as well as elephant-human conflict. Study data and results will contribute to protecting the wild animal as well as providing solutions for the human-wildlife conflict in these areas of rural Kenya.
The interns/volunteers shall work towards achieving the following set of research objectives
- Determine the distribution of elephants.
- Identify individuals and family groups.
- Identify other animals and plats in the area occupied by the elephants.
- Identify the migratory patterns of the elephants.
- Identify some of the main causes of conflict between the elephants and humans, and their possible solutions.
Under the guidance of local scientists and technicians, interns and volunteers in the elephant project will be involved in carrying out the following activities.
- Scouting for groups/families of elephants
- Counting all the elephants in each group.
- Counting all males, females, sub adults, babies and the infants in each group
- Identifying and documenting all other wildlife, especially mammals, birds, reptiles, arthropods and amphibians found in the area.
A vehicle survey will be conducted daily from 7 am to 1:30 pm
7 am to 11 am in Rombo; and again between 4 pm and 630 pm. Four to five days in a week will be used for this work. The interns, volunteers and students will fill the elephant study identification sheets, which will later be used for analysis.
On completion of the research, it is anticipated that the data will be extensively used in aiding with the conservation efforts for the elephants. It is also hoped that the study will help identify the causes and trends of human/animal conflict in the area, and come up with concrete suggestions on how these can be managed.
For logistical information about the Kenya Wildlife Project including the highlights, accommodation, meals, what you need to carry, what is provided, etc, please click here.
Combination of Programs
Our wildlife project opportunities are offered independently and in combination. You can choose to do the lion or elephant project; participate in both animal projects or even combine the Kenya wildlife projects with other programs including other volunteer projects, other internships, the language and cultural experience, or the Kenya adventure programs. When taken in combination with non-wildlife programs, placement begins with the non-wildlife programs and scheduled arrival is on the 1st or 3rd Wednesday of the month.
Submit an Application
Questions and Other InformationFor logistical information about the Kenya Wildlife Study Program including the highlights, and questions, etc please click here. For answers to general questions on the Kenya volunteer abroad projects, please go to the page on Frequently Asked Questions.
Kenya Program Highlights
Length of Program:
1 to 24 weeks.
1st and 3rd Thursday of every Month; Plan to arrive the day before.
Airport Arrival Time:
Day prior to starting preferably by 3:00 PM
Accommodation & Meals:
Carefully selected Kenyan households provide accommodation and 3 Kenyan meals per day.
Transport to Project:
projects within walking distance, else bus fare will not exceed USD 1.30 per day.
Mondays to Fridays. 3 to 6 hours daily.
Kenya program fees available here.
Basic Swahili encouraged but not required; working knowledge of English required.