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We've been to Africa!

One of the best things about being in the travel industry is traveling yourself! There's no better way to hone interpretation skills than to gain the ability to compare and contrast - and so we did - in Tanzania.

There is a crater there (like Yellowstone) brimming with wildlife like rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, lions, warthogs, hyenas and jackals to name a few. These species face many challenges: habitat loss, human development, poaching, hunting. Tourism brings money into the local economy and visitors bring home a new found sensitivity to complicated conservation issues. It's a win-win.

One of the most innovative projects we learned about was one community's attempt to dissuade elephants from raiding their crops (elephants love corn!) resulting in losses for local farmers, and causing people to feel animosity toward them as a threat to their livelihoods. This negative perception of elephants makes them extremely vulnerable to poaching, an activity which is currently devastating elephant populations across Africa.

The Wildlife Connection is helping farmers in install bee hives around the perimeter of their fields to keep elephants away. Side benefit is that they have honey to harvest and to sell. So far, it seems to be working really well!

Written by : Barbara Ulrich