Great Plains Conservation if a group initiative to develop conservation-based tourism with the mission to find the right formula between conservation, communities, and commerce. Great Plains Conservation’s model takes stressed and threatened environments, surrounds them with compassionate protection and intelligent management.
The projects are funded by a blend of sensitive, low volume, low impact tourism, frequently coupled with the sale of carbon credits and in some cases with the sale of a small number of villas or bush-homes for tourism. Together, these private sector initiatives create the capital needed to help fund the overall conservation initiatives.
One of the current Great Plains Conservation Projects is found in northern Botswana’s Selinda Reserve where the organization aims to expand the migration corridor of the elephant and create more of a barrier between human and elephant interaction (hunting, culling and poaching). The Selinda Reserve is in the heart of Africa’s last great elephant range, stretching from Zambia to Angola to Zimbabwe and Namibia. At the end of the dry season each year, when the elephants are seeking water, Selinda is home to around 9000 elephants!
The Selinda Reserve is the springboard for an enormous no hunting elephant sanctuary, which will connect Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana, and in time, expand west to Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, northwest to Angola’s Luiana Partial Reserve and north into Zambia’s Sioma Ngwezi National Park. The next phase of this ambitious plan is to ensure that more land falls under formal conservation protection and in the long term, a massive area is created that allows elephants free and unfettered access to their ancient migration routes.
When Great Plains Conservation took over the Selinda Reserve just a few years ago, 80% of the area was being used for trophy hunting. On the first day of tenure, Great Plains stopped all hunting. Since then, in a mere 3 years, a tremendous difference in the wildlife density, diversity and disposition has been reported. Elephants now calmly drink as you pass by. The whole area seems to now breathe a deep sigh of relief.
See what Great Plains is doing in the Selinda Reserve first-hand while staying at the beautiful Zarafa Camp or Selinda Camp. Call us for more details on designing a custom safari to include either of these camps in the Selinda Reserve in Botswana: 1-866-778-1089.
Information courtesy Great Plains Conservation. Images courtesy Great Plains and Wilderness Safaris.