The Elatia Project

Elatia Project introduction:

ATE has been working to protect Africa’s elephants in Kenya’s famous Amboseli National Park since 1972. Over the years we have had the privilege to get to know thousands of elephants and currently observe over 1,400 individuals, gaining a unique and intimate window into wild elephant lives.

For over four decades we have known, loved, studied and helped protect Amboseli’s elephants. Elephants everywhere are under threat and pressure from humans through the ivory trade and rapid habitat loss due to development and human population expansion. Our understanding of these animals is vital if we are to protect their future. We are proud that the results of our research have helped initiate a worldwide change in attitudes towards these wonderful animals, leading an uprising in public pressure to protect them. ATE remains committed to ensuring the long-term survival of elephants by sharing our knowledge with the world. The more that is known about elephant’s behaviour and capacity to deal with human-related threats, the easier it is to implement sustainable conservation initiatives. Our work also helps managers and policy makers dealing with populations elsewhere.

ATE carries out research over the entire Amboseli Ecosystem, following the Amboseli elephants over the 8000 Km­2 of their range. We are entirely reliant on donations to enable our work, which requires a lot of time on the ground and a close relationship with both the elephants themselves and the local communities who inform our team of elephant sightings and of conflict incidents that may require our intervention. ATE has always maintained a close and collaborative relationship with the Maasai communities who live in and around the Amboseli ecosystem.

This sense of neighbourhood, between us, the elephants and the Maasai, is what inspired our Elatia Project. The word ‘elatia’ means ‘neighbour’ in Maa (the language of the Maasai people). By joining the project you become a neighbour to an elephant family, sharing the ups and downs that constitute elephant family life. While we collect our data, we also see stories of friendship, competition and cooperation that make up what we call “elephant gossip”. Elatia is our way of sharing those stories.

Joining Elatia costs a minimum donation of US$30 per year for each family. Your contribution helps fund ATE’s on-the-ground expenses, for costs associated with vehicle maintenance, purchase of technical field equipment, DNA sample collection and processing, research camp maintenance, our livestock consolation scheme, community well fixes and the many other costs that our work generates. Your contribution keeps us on the ground; the reality is – if our team cannot be out there with the elephants we cannot protect them!

As an Elatia member, you will benefit from exclusive information about your family, including:

  • An update about your elephant family every 2 months, including news of births, deaths, pregnancies, and any social dramas (which happen quite often!)
  • Photographs of your family
  • Periodic short films about the family, so you get to see them in action!
  • A family tree, showing every elephant we have known from the family since 1972

Elatia members get a user name and password, making this information exclusively for those who support us through the project. Joining Elatia makes you a part of Amboseli Trust for Elephants conservation efforts and you become a member of our ‘neighbourhood’ of elephant lovers! You can sign up yourself, or give Elatia membership as a gift. Or do both!

Please note that although we have specifically selected families that we see regularly, these are wild free-living elephants. They can and do travel a long way – which is exactly what we are fighting to protect. This does mean it is possible we can go through a few months of not seeing a family, so please bear with us if your news updates seem limited on a couple of occasions!

The Elatia Project is completely digital, so all updates are sent via email. Postage around the world is very tricky and costly, and we do have conservation in mind when we avoid printing large amounts of paper to save the trees in the world!

Please note we also have a free newsletter, which is issued on alternate months to Elatia’s updates. This newsletter contains general news from our staff, activities and meeting ATE is involved in, poaching/other global elephant news, and progress in our research projects. We recommend Elatia followers join this mailing list, as you will benefit from a more complete picture of ATE’s work.

To sign up for this newsletter, please provide your email below:

“Elephants form deep bonds with each other, which last for decades. Elephant survival is strongly affected by access to the social and ecological knowledge that older elephants hold; where to go, what to eat, how to avoid danger.”
- Dr. Cynthia Moss