Can you believe that it’s been over four years since we documented the first organization? Many great memories behind, and most importantly, many friends that we met along the way. Yes, we are getting old and starting to reminisce… and we like that! Throughout these years, the organizations we’ve documented continued their work, and some changes have occurred since then. We decided it was about time to get back on track, and see which were these changes (and if our documentaries have been of any help)!
To start with, the amazing Namibian organization Elephant – Human Relations Aid. We won’t get into too much details about them since we have a full awesome original documentary about their work. We reconnected with Rachel Harris, who was our first contact, back in 2010, when we approached them offering our help. Thanks for trusting us, Rach!
Let’s see where they are.
POC :: When we visited, the main programs of the organization regarded the construction of walls to protect water sources and the monitoring and tracking of desert-dwelling elephants. Were there any changes to these programs?
Rachel Harris :: No, this is still what we are doing. We also continue with the PEACE project and on the elephant patrols, we collect dung from the elephants for a genetics project; we want to see which bulls are responsible for breeding. We think that our main large bull Voortrekker is the only breeding bull and therefore want to prove this; it is important to justify our stance that hunting of the desert elephants is not sustainable.
POC :: Most of the work was carried out with the support of volunteers, who come from all over the world, and stay for a minimum of 2 weeks. Were there any changes to the structure of the volunteer programs? Have you seen an increase of people interested in volunteering for EHRA?
RH :: We still carry on in the same way. We won an award: the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award
for best volunteering organization, which has helped people to hear about us.
POC :: When we were there, there were significant changes that could be observed regarding the preservation of desert elephants. After these three years, were there any other significant results that can be highlighted?
HR :: Because of conflict with humans and because of the shooting of so-many so called ‘problem elephants’, the population density is actually lower now than it was when the elephants returned to the area after the poaching years. For the desert elephants, the populations are very very low.
POC :: Did the documentary help in any particular way?
HR :: I think it’s great that we have it on the website and I think a lot of potential volunteers watch it before deciding to come out here. So yes, it really did!!
Glad to hear we’ve contributed a bit to the awesome changes they’ve been engaged for over 20 years.