Eco-Trips: Journeying Across the World Sustainably

Eco-Trips: Journeying Across the World Sustainably

Today is our team’s 1st official day of our Elephant Research & Conservation Eco-Trip in South Africa! Partnered with AERU, an organization which strives to collect and provide valuable information that may be used to improve the future management of captive elephants both within and beyond the borders of South Africa. As a part of Ross Park Zoo’s mission, which is dedicated to promoting awareness and stewardship of our natural world, in our community and globally, through education, conservation, and community engagement, this is a program where we are able to bring our community global awareness. Along with myself, the team consists of 4 other community members who get to experience a firsthand view into African Elephant conservation efforts.

I see no better way to kick off this Eco-Trip program than with the partnership of this incredible organization. Those who have been with us from this blog’s beginning may know that this is where I most recently spent 5 months as an intern learning and admiring the beauty of these animals and South Africa itself!

The concept of an Eco-Trip is centered around the idea of Ecotourism. This is a practice that focuses on responsible travel considering everything from the environment to the people that you interact with. This includes anything from choosing sustainable travel options along with respecting the environment and the local people in which you are visiting. What’s even better is you learn a little along the way and often get to experience the beautiful authentic culture while minimizing negative effects on the environment. It’s a WIN – WIN.

As a part of our time here with AERU, we will be learning about the research and data collection that the team observes for the 5 elephants that currently reside at the Knysna Elephant Park. Over 40 elephants have come and gone through this program where elephants in need are cared for with the ultimate goal of them moving on to organizations where they can be reintroduced into a non-human environment while being supervised to ensure they are thriving. Each of these elephants are here as they needed to be saved from situations of being orphaned or saved from culling practices when they were younger. The team is established to ensure that they are living the best life and exhibiting proper elephant behavior!

This renowned organization also partners with volunteers from all over the world! So it is an amazing opportunity to meet with people you would never otherwise have known. I have so many treasured friendships from those that I have met.

Tune in next week for a recap on our adventures!

Have a topic of interest? Let us know in the comment section below!

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