East Africa Bush Tails

Elephant Conservation with the Help of Google Street View

Elephants in Kenya’s Samburu National Park just got a high-tech assist to help keep them out of the harmful path of poachers and let people around the world help in conservation efforts to keep them safe.

Google Street View, working with Save the Elephants, has recently launched interactive “maps” of the park (Google’s first Street View efforts in Kenya), allowing viewers to take a virtual safari in the conservancy: https://www.google.com/maps/streetview/#samburu-kenya.

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It’s an incredible opportunity to get an up-close look at the elephants who make their home in this remote park; users can zoom in on the elephants as they bathe in the mud, drink from a watering hole, and look for food.

The Google project aims to tell the amazing stories of the elephant families in the park. Two of the main families of elephants captured by Street View are the Hardwoods and the Spice family who have been identified by the shape of their tusks and tears in their ears.The STE website offers background “Story Spheres” so readers can learn more details about the elephant families: http://savetheelephants.org/about-elephants/storyspheres/

The initiative was launched together with the charity Save the Elephants (STE), which works to promote wildlife conservation and was headed in part by Kenyan conservationist, BBC TV presenter, and wildlife-filmmaker, Saba Douglas-Hamilton, who is the Chair of Save the Elephants’ Advisory Board and runs Elephant Watch Camp.

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Saba Douglas-Hamilton was there and later took her kids to visit the young elephant at the Sheldrick’s orphanage.

Samburu is an arid, rugged and savagely beautiful area of Kenya protected as the Samburu National Reserve and the Buffalo Springs National Reserve, together covering an area of about 187 square miles. With less than 12 inches of rain a year the wildlife depends for its very existence on the Uaso Nyiro River, whose headwaters rise in the Aberdare Mountains, 185 miles away. The area is very scenic with hilly crags and trees, which follow the river courses and more vegetation of scrub desert, thorn bush, riverine forest, and swamps.

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