Developing: As I was writing about the incredible community conservation program at Olderkesi, the COVID-19 crisis was just developing. Now, as I finish this piece, unfortunately, much of the work outlined here is in great threat as tourism comes to a grinding halt in the wake of the pandemic. Cottar’s Safaris find themselves in the same position as most safari outfits. Tourism revenues have plummeted, threatening the wildlife living on this critical conservancy in the Mara and the livelihoods of the Maasai families who work at — and receive economic benefits from — the lodges.
What do millennials want? How can we run institutions that millennials actually want to work in? Why are millennials killing industries and traditions? Is avocado on toast really the defining millennial cuisine that we have been led to believe it is?
“Do you have a favorite animal?” I ask Jealous Alafai, a 52-year-old Zimbabwean fisherman along the Zambezi River.
He chuckles and says, “Of course I do!”
“The elephant, because it is my totem.”
“What do you mean?”
“In our culture, we don’t eat our totem animals. In fact, we respect them.”
One fine morning in 2019, Chenjerai Chimukoro woke up to a herd of nearly 70 elephants in his farm working their way through his sorghum, cotton, and maize plants. He knew that he had to act fast to save what was left of the crop and ensure that his family would have something to eat come harvest time. Luckily, he was prepared.
Ground up. Hidden in coffee. Disguised. There is no limit to the tactics wildlife traffickers will use when they are attempting to sneak through wildlife contraband. But there is no fooling a dog’s nose. No matter how hard smugglers try to hide their contraband, African Wildlife Foundation’s highly trained canine detection dogs will sniff out wildlife products. In fact, it takes only 10-12 seconds for one dog to inspect a vehicle and signal to their handler where the contraband is concealed.