elephant projects
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elephant projects

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Elephant projects
are defined as any facility which works directly with elephants which are not truly wild, usually the animals have been rescued either from the wild or from zoos. These organisations usually exist either to rehabilitate the animals for release into the wild or to maintain them in a habituated state for close interaction with paying guests, occasionally both.

The great thing about visiting most elephant projects is that you will be able to get up close and personal with these wonderful, remarkable creatures. Although we ultimately prefer to see them in their wild and natural state, there is no doubt that this kind of experience is also well worth undertaking. You will fall in love.

Unlike other parts of the world, elephants in Africa have never been widely domesticated or exploited for commercial purposes such as forestry. The African elephant is considerably larger and has generally been considered too wild to be trusted at close quarters.

However, in recent years the situation has changed considerably and there are now several locations where elephants have been habituated and can now be petted, hand-fed and even ridden, as noted below.

We have always had very mixed feeling about whether this kind of approach is helpful in the greater picture of conservation in Africa. Should we be seeking to provide these animals with the space in which they can live their lives unmolested by people, or is it okay to domesticate some animals to act as ambassadors for their species?

There is no doubt that these special elephants have the power to enchant everyone they meet and instil within them a deep desire to help their species in their plight. The bottom line is that it depends on the individual project, some are exemplary and inspirational, others are crudely commercial.

Please refer to the article on elephants for information on seeing the animals in the wild.

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