GETTING ALONG WITH ELEPHANTS:
Workshop in Bardiya National Park, Nepal, addressing the very real life/death decisions local people make on a daily basis when they share living space with elephants.
In 2009, Zoo Outreach Organization conducted a series of Human Elephant Coexistence and conservation education programs training about 120 educators in various elephant range areas of Nepal. The evaluation of this program found it to be very effective and it was decided similar training was necessary in other parts of Bardiya National Park. A three-day workshop was organized for November 3 to 6, 2016, with Asian Elephant Support providing the financial means.
Participants included village heads, village council members, teachers, Nepal Armed Forces that deal with inter-border wildlife issues, members from NGOs, volunteers, and forest personnel. AES advisor Heidi Riddle, Riddles Wildlife & Elephant Sanctuary; Naresh Subedi from the National Trust for Nature Conservation; and B. A. Daniel of Zoo Outreach were the main resource persons.
During the workshop a variety of educational materials developed exclusively for Nepal were used including Getting Along With Elephants, a brochure that includes species information, has activities related to Asian culture and the Asian elephant, human-elephant conflict (HEC) case studies and morals, history of HEC in Nepal and other Asian elephant range countries, various mitigation measures, and some important guidelines for people to mitigate HEC in their daily lives. The materials were thoughtfully designed and created for a carefully selected class of individuals in positions to teach what they have learned to others.
This workshop included 32 participants plus the three instructors. The survey participants completed at the end of the three-day workshop is geared to measure their knowledge gained of the presented elephant information. The highest range difference of ‘before’ and ‘after’ the workshop was 9% to 90%. The group average score was 38.98% before and 82.35% after. Each participant received a pledge card to commit to practice teaching what they learned in the next three to four months, while the coordinating institutions committed to follow up with the participant educators to spread the word of HECx with their respective audiences.
Education is a core component of conservation as well as caring for today’s elephants. We thank YOU, our supporters, for helping us provide quality learning opportunities that will pay themselves forward to even larger audiences.