The conservation of elephants is one of the most prominent issues facing the wildlife community today. While there have been countless conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures, one stand-out collaborative project making its mark is The Free to Roam Project; a joint force by Exodus Travels, Tsavo Trust, and the Tofauti Foundation.

As a brief overview, this project aims to engage the local Kenyan WeKamba communities in the conservation of these animals, while also helping generate economic opportunities for the communities themselves so the families can live self-sufficiently.

While this is the ultimate aim of the project, this incredible collaboration is also so much more…

Here’s everything you need to know about The Free to Roam Project:

Who is part of The Free to Roam Project?

The force behind the project is three organizations.

The first: Exodus Travels Foundation. Exodus Travels is the largest travel operator in the world that offers adventure vacations across over 100 countries. They joined the project to support the continued rollout of the conservation efforts by Tsavo Trust (a Kenyan NGO on a mission to conserve the vast wilderness of the Tsavo Conservation Area) and the Tofauti Foundation (an African wildlife and communities charity that works to bring people together to make a difference for Africa’s wildlife and communities).

Together, the three organizations bolster important conservation elephants in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park, in the Kamungi Conservancy. Here is a short movie depicting their efforts in securing a good cohabitation between human communities and wildlife:

Why are their conservation efforts focusing on elephants?

The largest land animals on earth, African elephants are slightly bigger than their Asian cousins. Many experts say these creatures can be identified by their larger ears – that look sort of like the continent of Africa!

Through both ivory poachers and loss of habitat, African elephants have become an endangered species. Despite many conservation efforts from groups around the world, studies say that local approaches are the best way to protect elephants from poachers. Helping communities develop sustainable livelihoods could reduce the lure of poaching, which is the core belief behind The Free to Roam Project itself.

What does The Free to Roam Project hope to achieve?

The Free to Roam Project wants both local communities and local wildlife to benefit from their efforts equally by promoting a peaceful co-existence. To do this, The Free to Roam Project has created a secure “buffer” area for elephants and other local wildlife to roam, by fencing off 10% of land for the local WeKamba community and leaving 90% for nature to thrive. This buffer not only helps the conservation of local wildlife by allowing them to roam freely in their own space, but it also gives the local communities designated permaculture areas which will help to ensure food security.

As well as ensure food security, Tsavo Trust works closely with the local community to make sure they get the most from the 10% of land they protect for agriculture. So far, the 10% fence plan has resulted in an average of 528% increase in crop yield following the implementation of these conservation efforts! Equally as fantastic, the construction of these fences has provided paid employment for the local marginalised communities, and will generate more job opportunities for local women and girls who have experienced job losses since the pandemic began.

The aims of The Free to Roam Project are simple – to aid the local communities in conservation efforts for these animals and empower them in their own ways of life – but the outcome from these three organizations teaming up will be nothing short of incredible.


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