Recently Karingani initiated our CALL: Conservation and Literacy Learning project by challenging our neighbouring community schools to discover and celebrate wildlife storytellers in our area. Karingani asked local principals and teachers to encourage their students to write a short essay about what conservation means to them and why conserving nature and wildlife is important.
More than 63 students ranging in age from 11 to 15 from nine different communities entered into the contest. The essays were judged by wildlife veterinarians from the Mozambique Wildlife Alliance and one winning essay was chosen from each of the nine schools. The winning student along with their teacher or principal was invited to join Karingani in the reserve and participate in collaring an elephant sponsored by Tusk and Karingani.
The children and teachers had the opportunity to fly inside a helicopter to the location of the immobilised elephant and then meet with MWA wildlife vet, Dr Hugo Pereira, as he explained the darting and immobilisation process and why it is important to track elephants as they move through the landscape. Each child assisted Karingani warden, Ellery Worth, in taking biological measurements of the elephant’s feet, height and tusks while their teachers assisted with fitting the tracking collars. The children then, while supervised, used an electric drill to help tighten the bolts of the collar.
After the procedure was finished for each elephant, the team stepped backed and watched as the elephant woke up, gently touched its new collar with its trunk and walked off into the bush. The students and teachers excitedly discussed their experience and took time to ask any questions they had about the procedure, Karingani and conservation. Rosa, from Matsandzane proudly told the group that she wanted to become a wildlife veterinarian one day. Isabel, who is a wildlife activist in her home community of Khumana would like to become a ranger to protect wildlife when she grows up and finishes school.
The experience was as incredible as it was eye-opening for all involved. At Karingani we understand that it is critical to collaborate with and share our conservation work with our neighbours and were honoured to share this experience.
These children are the future of conservation in Mozambique.