Our Blog

Spreading the conservation message

July 19, 2011

I just finished reading an engrossing and very disturbing article in this month’s Vanity Fair magazine (“Agony and Ivory”) about the plight of the African elephants and the ivory trade.   You can check out the entire article at http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/08/elephants-201108 Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in elephant poaching in Kenya which this article highlights and it reminded me of the critical importance of tourism and conservation.

One of things we take great pride in at Bush and Beyond is the amazing conservation work our properties do each and every day.    Our properties combined have protected over 2.2 million acres within their private conservancies and group ranches.  This is land where the wildlife is safeguarded and free to roam as nature intended.

Our properties also employ numerous local community members as wildlife rangers and guides to insure that the wildlife is safe from harm.  As well, the properties share the profits from their tourism operations with the local communities, provide employment, medical & educational support, and markets to sell their handicrafts & products. All of which strengthens the message that the wildlife is what brings the tourist dollars and the tourist dollars benefit the local community and therefore the wildlife needs to be preserved by the local community.

This lesson is starting at a very young age as through the properties and their philanthropic arms, we provide education to the local children so that they understand the economic value of the wildlife. My husband often tells the story of visiting a local primary school supported by one of our properties and having the children tell him – “an elephant bought me this pencil” and “a lion gave me this book”.  The students recognized that the dollars the tourists spent staying at the property in turn provided them with the tools necessary to gain an education.  And as a result of this, they understood the value of the wildlife and why it was important to them personally.

I believe once you understand the value of something to you personally, you will do whatever is within your power to insure its survival.  That is true of all things you love and through the conservation efforts of the Bush and Beyond properties we are teaching that message not only to our guests but to our surrounding communities.  We’d love you to spread that message too.