Vacationers Assist in Work Project to Promote Conservation in Nambia

SWAKOPMUND, NAMIBIA (10/06) – The northwestern region of the Namib Desert in Namibia, an area known as Damaraland, is home to approximately 600 desert-adapted elephants and a group of subsistence farmers who compete for the area’s water supply. In an effort to manage a co-existence that benefits both humans and elephants, Abenteuer Afrika Safaris offers a volunteer work project through EHRA (Elephant Human Relations Aid) for a minimum of two weeks with a maximum of three months. Abenteuer Afrika Safaris is the largest destination management company in Namibia, offering tours that showcase the best of Namibia.

The project’s emphasis is on building protective structures around communal water points, creating additional water points for the elephants, assisting with and teaching farmers skills to financially benefit through tourism, researching elephant movements, and compiling identity kits on herds as well as individual elephants. This is real pioneer conservation work in one of the last true wilderness areas on earth. The project is open to all ages and anyone who is relatively fit is capable.

The projects work on a two week rotation, during the first week volunteers will be either building protection walls around a local farmers’ waterpoint or constructing alternative drinking points for the elephants. When on elephant patrol, the group track and then follow the resident herds of elephants and sleep under the stars.

Participants learn the art of cooking over a fire, bush camp setup, safety and hygiene. They learn how to track, how to approach dangerous animals on foot, animal behavior, map reading, and more.

With the escalation of tourism, the value of all wild life in Damaraland is increasing. By helping to alleviate the pressure that the farmers face and promoting the future of the desert elephants so that both humans and animals can live in harmony, volunteers will assist in the continuous positive development of the conservancies and their ideal.

The EHRA project was founded in 2003 by Johannes Haasbroek, a nature conservationist, originally from South Africa, who has been living in Namibia nine years. Having witnessed the return of the desert elephants to the area and the ensuing problems caused by their destruction to farmers’ waterpoints, Johannes set up EHRA and the volunteer project as an initiative to recreate a harmonious relationship between humans and the elephants. Over the past three years much has been achieved with over 35 farms now secured, but there are many other farms facing water crisis daily, due to elephant damage.

Rates for the project are payable for every two week slot at $736.41* USD and participants may sign up for up to six slots. The rate includes food, transportation, and accommodation during the project.

For more information, departure dates and reservations for the EHRA work project, contact Dianne Orban at Abenteuer Afrika Safaris at dorban@abenteuerafrika.com The telephone number is 011-264-404030 and the web site is www.abenteuerafrika.com

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