Baby elephant suffers from water shortage, Mali 2008. Photo by Jake Wall

As reported in several previous blogs, the recent drought in Mali threatened the unique Mali elephant herd.  The issues of water, access to water and human-elephant conflicts are however not new to the Gourma region.  Recently, partners from Save the Elephants (Iain Douglas-Hamilton and Jake Wall) published a paper in Pachyderm Magazine, summarizing the issues and outlining our collaborative work (STE, WILD, Malian Government and others) to protect the elephants.

Project leader for our Mali Elephant Project, Susan Canney, was just in Mali for two weeks to assess next steps for the project, and continue the very important collaborative work with the Mali Directorate pour la Conservation de la Nature (DNCN) and STE.  She reports that rains are light, but finally falling, and the elephants are out of immediate danger.  With thanks to the generous donors and the urgent action response of DNCN, WILD and STE, the elephants survived one of the worst droughts in over 26 years.

During her time in Mali, Dr. Canney focused on long term strategies and on community involvement and local outreach.  Forming a new partnership with Association Malienne de la Conservation de la Faune et de l’Environment (AMFCE), a local NGO was a critical outcome of her trip.  This partnship will further one of our major capacity building objectives, and assist with our growing outreach and awareness efforts — including awareness materials in 5 local languages.  She also set the ground work for a potential long term management and land use plan with more collaboration from the Malian government and the African Parks Foundation.  Stay tuned for more updates!

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