The Zoo Is a Committed Partner!
Since 2015, the Zoo de Granby has been collaborating with the personnel of Campo Ma’an National Park in Southern Cameroon, to protect elephants living around the park’s outskirts. One of the objectives of this project is to understand and solve conflicts between the human population and the elephants residing there as well.
Many villages suffer from damages done to their crops and fruit tree plantations caused by the elephants. The communities themselves are at risk when these elephants walk through their villages. Valérie Michel, a Zoo de Granby Animal Care technician, went to the park during the summer of 2019 for a second year to participate in finding solutions to this problem. To keep the aboriginal Bagyeli Pygmy tribe safe, the Zoo de Granby was inspired by an idea from Disney and the Oxford University who invented a beehive fence concept. Since elephants don’t seem to appreciate the presence of these insects, the hives, placed in different areas around the plantations, help farmers protect their crops as well as the villagers. Furthermore, the hives offer a thriving honey production, which represents a new source of income for the population.
The Precarious State of Elephants in the Wild
Poaching activities have increased in many African countries: 35,000 elephants have been killed annually over the last five years for illegal trafficking of ivory, essentially sent to Chinese markets. There are several factors which explain why poaching activities are decimating the species: poverty, an absence of efficient monitoring, corruption and a higher demand for ivory by consumer countries. Loss of habitat is becoming a major stake as well, due to deforestation brought about by the mining industry and road construction. We estimate that today there are still more African elephants being poached than there are births, which means that populations will, of course, diminish in a not-so-distant future. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) assesses that there are still between 420,000 and 650,000 African elephants in the wild: They were close to 20 million at the beginning of the 20th century.
About the Zoo de Granby
The Zoo de Granby is a non-profit organization founded in 1953. Its mission is to offer a variety of visitors of all ages experience an enriching, entertaining and educational activity aimed at creating an awareness for animal conservation throughout the world. During its peak period, the zoo employs more than 800 people. The Zoo de Granby’s direct and indirect benefits in the region have been estimated at more than $50 million annually, which represents an increase of 75% since 2004.
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