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Saturday, April 22 • 11:00 - 16:00
Elephants, ethnicities, war and peace: exploring conservation through the “desert elephants” of Mali

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The iconic and enigmatic desert-adapted elephants of Mali live alongside multiple ethnicities in a vast arid landscape in the centre of Mali just south of Timbuktu. The harsh nature of their environment means they make the longest annual migration of any elephant population to find the resources they need, ranging over an area of over 32,000km2 (larger than Belgium and one and a half times the size of Wales!). In 2007 it became clear that the elephants would only survive the challenges of increased human impact if elephant conservation was the result of the day-to-day decisions made by local people for their own benefit.

The Mali Elephant Project developed a model of community engagement, empowerment, and stabilisation based on natural resource management that improves local livelihoods and protects elephants. It includes all sectors of the community including providing employment for youth and empowering women in income generating activities based on regenerative natural resource management.

The resilience of the model has been demonstrated by having survived five years of lawlessness, rebellion and Islamic insurgency; while at the same time straddling international trafficking routes coupled with a resurgent ivory trade.

This session will use the story of the Mali Elephant Project as an entry-point to tease out the key ingredients for conservation success and failure, with a particular focus on the different perspectives of local, national and international actors.

avatar for Susan Canney

Susan Canney

Director, Mali Elephant Project
I currently direct the Mali Elephant Project, having worked on a variety of nature conservation projects in Africa, Asia and Europe, and as a research officer at the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy & Understanding. I am particularly interested in using systems perspectives... Read More →

Saturday April 22, 2017 11:00 - 16:00 BST
Prince Albert Suite

Attendees (9)