Conservation starts with understanding
"In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught." (Baba Dioum, 1968.)
Approximately 150 000 African elephants have been lost in the last decade. Numbers continue to decline in the face of poaching, human-elephant conflict, habitat reduction and inbreeding.
The late Rory Hensman learnt so much from observing wild elephants and living with tamed and trained elephants. His wish was that through education and knowledge of the wonders of this animal, we humans would be motivated to look after them. As we head into a modern world where wildlife and humans compete for limited resources, knowledge and education are vital to the conservation of various species. The Rory Hensman Conservation and Research Unit (RHCRU) is an NPO dedicated to the holistic and sustainable conservation of elephants and other wildlife in a modernizing Africa. We believe the best approach to conservation is to look at the bigger picture of conservation, and the positive and negative effects of conservation on rural communities and wildlife, finding win-win solutions for all by creative, “outside of the box” thinking. Innovation at RHCRU is supported by collaboration with efforts in various academic and non-academic fields. We focus on the preemptive approach to wildlife challenges and solutions that help to preserve the species before crisis point is reached, i.e. a fatal attack by poachers or as a result of human wildlife conflict situations, by promoting the value of elephants to human society, wildlife and wildlife systems.
We offer researchers the unique opportunity to study a herd of free-ranging and tamed elephants in South Africa. We work with Adventures with Elephants thus providing researchers the chance to study a family of elephants either in their natural habitat out in the bush, or up close. In addition to working with the elephants, researchers can study our land, flora, work with our community project, or test technologies on the property. Researchers from around South Africa and globally, such as Australia, USA and Austria have worked with us on their research projects, many of which have resulted in published studies.
Our goal is to create a better, brighter future for elephants across Africa.
We are creating a DNA database of the South African elephant population to safeguard the future of the species. Firstly, A DNA database is important for monitoring inbreeding and the predisposition of disease. Secondly, being able to link ivory to specific elephants in specific areas assists authorities in identifying poaching hotspots. The creation of the DNA database will help people manage elephant populations more effectively, and will open the doors to further research on our tusked friends. One DNA test costs approximately R 1 000 and each elephant only needs to be tested once.
You can read more about what RHCRU does, and how you can donate here:
The seven elephants at Adventures for Elephants have become ambassadors for the species. Every day when people meet them, they are left with a sense of wonder and awe. You too can experience the uniqueness of the herd made up of Chova, Chisuru, Messina, Shan, Nuanedi and calves Bela and Zambezi at Adventures with Elephants, but booking an educational interaction, and perhaps a safari. Read more here: