Dr Ian McCallum, one of the Trustees of the Cape Leopard Trust is undertaking an ambitious project. Following ancient African elephant migration paths, Tracks of Giants, is a 5 month west to east journey connecting major conservation nodes to promote a greater awareness of conservation, human community and leadership issues relevant to southern Africa, and applicable to many areas of the world. The journey aims to rekindle the rapidly declining indigenous knowledge base of the human-animal interface, and indigenous solutions to conservation challenges and issues.
A team of trackers, conservationists and media will travel by foot, cycle (in regions outside of conservation areas and wildlife parks) and kayak in the Okavango Delta and Zambezi through eight major conservation nodes. Along the way, they will meet with local communities; work with partners on various projects; survey and document animal movements; and focus on conservation concerns centring on the following issues:
- Climate change: potential impact on biodiversity and natural habitats
- Water: The vital role of wild natural areas in supplying water to human communities
- Human-animal issues: identification of conflict areas and possible solutions
- Habitat fragmentation and loss of traditional animal migration routes
- The importance of designated wilderness regions in Transfrontier Conservation Areas
- Preserving indigenous wildlife knowledge – tracking skills, resource use, oral history
- Linking environmental issues to leadership issues- biological, social, psychological
The team will be carrying an elephant collar throughout the journey, which is linked to a GPS tracking device. You can see where the team are and follow their progress by clicking on this map. The collar will be donated to Elephants Without Borders at the end of the expedition.
The Cape Leopard Trust would like to wish Dr McCallum and the rest of the team all the best on their journey. To keep track of the Tracks of Giants Project, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.