Hello and welcome to Elephant Ridge!
By pledging to support our conservation project you will be directly contributing to the survival of endangered animals and their habitat by protecting the eco-system, reducing poaching, creating employment and educating local children and their communities.
As a funding partner there are some great opportunities to visit the eco-camp and see your investment in action. We'll also be keeping all of our partners up to date with regular progress reports, photos, videos and on social media.
If you have any other suggestions for how you might contribute to the development of this very special conservancy then we are open to ideas...
Several years ago my partners and I bought a vacant farm bordering the Mosi oa Tunya National Park in Livingstone, Zambia. The property is rich in wildlife, from big game such as elephant & buffalo, to a wide range of smaller species, birds and flora. It is spread across a variety of beautiful terrain, with stunning views of the National Park, Zambezi River and Victoria Falls.
Unfortunately the local wildlife is under increasing pressure due to loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict;
- An estimated 100 African elephants are killed by poachers every day. Elephants cover large distances during the year and many of the gentle giants we see in Livingstone will have witnessed poaching of their family members and other traumatic events. It is heartbreaking to think of the horrific violence these intelligent animals have witnessed. Understandably, when they come into contact with people they can be defensive.
- The city of Livingstone is rapidly expanding, with building developments, walls, electric fences and busy roads now occupying lands where elephants used to roam freely. Outside town the natural bush landcape is making way for commercial farms and tourist lodges. These are then enclosed by 'elephant proof' electric fences, which cut off ancient migratory routes.
- This situation is worstened when they are regularly chased with loud fire crackers, gun shots and other deterrants, as people try to protect their property & crops. They can become very stressed and aggravated, especially when they have babies in tow.
- Sadly in Livingstone, in the last year alone, tensions have led to several fatalities - both human and elephant.
We are not proposing to provide a solution to the poaching crisis, but we can do our bit to protect the shrinking habitat and provide a natural sanctuary, and wildlife corridor, where animals can pass safely and not be harassed.
So what's the plan?
The plan is to develop high quality, but low impact, accommodation and facilities that will ensure the farm remains an important green belt for the town, and therefore provide long-term, sustainable protection for the wildlife.
There is also the potential to establish a research and education facility to undertake conservation work for the protection of rare and endangered species. This will involve the local community at a grass roots level so that they also benefit from defending their natural heritage.
How will we spend your money?
We have started to invest in infrastructure – such as drilling boreholes, building a dam, installing a small house for our live-in caretaker, and clearing access roads. The main house build has also begun, with foundations laid and structural work in progress.
I am personally funding as much as I can but need some help, which is where you lovely people come in!
The target amount of £27,000 will be used to;
- build a self-catering 'eco-camp'
- complete the building of a modern off-grid house (created from recycled shipping containers)
- develop infrastructure and operations to conserve the wildlife & natural environment (year-round water supply, habitat protection, anti-poaching patrols etc.)
The house and camp will be rented out to small groups and self-drive visitors, to establish a sustainable income and grow funds for further investment.
If achieved, a further £3000 stretch target will help to establish a research and education initiative, in partnership with local conservation organisations and the community.
What will you get out of it?
Thank you for reading this far.
However much you are able to contribute will be hugely appreciated and we've put together a tiered reward structure to tempt you with a few incentives.
What's more - for every pledge made we will make a donation of 2% to The School Club Zambia, a Zambian based charity working in partnership with rural schools to ensure children have access to a relevant, effective and sustainable education (www.schoolclubzambia.org).
Donors are welcome to visit the project and we highly encourage people to experience the lovely tourist town of Livingstone, with the mighty Zambezi, Victoria Falls, and all the amazing activities this area has to offer!