BTEH Challenge: Antoinette
Target amount: € 2.000 Raised:
Contribute to a world in which elephants and people can coexist peacefully!
Please support my mission!
In 2002, during a volunteer holiday in Thailand, I was confronted with a terrified young elephant that I found on the streets of downtown Bangkok. With the dream of rescuing elephants from the streets, I founded ‘Bring the Elephant Home’ in 2004. With two rescued elephants, I started a long journey to bring them to a sanctuary in Nothern Thailand. The more I learned about elephants, the more I became aware that the loss of habitat is the cause of most problems elephants are facing. In 2007, Bring the Elephant Home shifted its focus from rescuing individual elephants to conservation and restoration of wild elephant habitat. This also includes mitigating human-elephant conflicts as a result of habitat degradation. I learned how much people love to participate in conservation action and how everything is connected. In nature, in society, and in successful programs to realize change.
Together with the local communities, we are planting trees to create corridors and to increase biodiversity. We are constructing small dams inside the protected areas so that elephants don’t need to roam to villages to find water. To reduce crop raiding, we are setting up chilli and beehive fences: a non-violent method to scare off elephants. Elephants are afraid of bees; when they try to break through a fence, the bees fly out and chase the elephants. Less sleepless nights, the bees pollinate the crops, and the honey provides additional income: all contributing to more tolerance towards the elephants. A win-win situation!
It’s seventeen years later now, and I live in the bush in South Africa, where elephants are facing similar challenges. Lack of suitable habitat for elephants results in escalating human-elephant conflicts. As a PhD researcher, I am investigating sustainable human-elephant coexistence strategies, that reconcile conservation and human wellbeing goals. By applying an approach that combines community engagement, education, research and practical conservation action.
In Mozambique, we are planning to create a corridor to connect two protected areas together with Elephants Alive and local organizations. My focus will mainly be on involving the local community in the corridor area through workshops and identifying job opportunities through the planting of trees, alternative crops, installing chilli and bee fences and ecotourism. In Thailand, Bring the Elephant Home is working on similar projects so that we can test and improve the model on both continents.
With your support and in collaboration with other scientists, I would like to achieve this in Southern Africa!
– More knowledge about the needs of elephants for living space, food, water and safety through the analysis of GPS tracking data, land use and human-elephant conflict incidents.
– More insight into the needs of the farmers who currently live in the corridor area through workshops and surveys.
– To design a corridor between protected areas and to implement sustainable solutions to prevent crop-raiding, such as bee and chilli fences.
– To improve the relationship between humans and elephants through active community engagement.
Will you help to create a better future for the African elephant?
The target for my challenge is: € 2,000 Raised so far: .
On behalf of the elephants, thank you so much!
Antoinette van de Water
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Bring the Elephant Home foundation is a Dutch charity.
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