Letter updates from WWF (& about the Cerrado); thanks to adopting an elephant!πŸ˜πŸ’—πŸ₯°

Even the envelopes are pretty, I love them! I was so excited to open these this morning.

My amazing mum adopted an elephant for me for my Christmas present so I receive letter updates from the WWF on the elephants and the rest of their conservation work.

This came out of the green envelope. I had a newsletter about the elephants,a children’s magazine on exploring the cerrado which I actually love myself, and a news update on the Cerrado. **I’m going to cover the Cerrado below and what the WWF are trying to do to save it.

This came out of the blue envelope. It is a little magazine covering everything from diet to ways to get involved.

My elephant! 🐘🐘🐘

Here is an actual photo of my elephant. Her name is ‘Namunyak’ and she is from the Mara ecosystem in Kenya.

Namunyak is the leader of her herd! (Yes!πŸ’—πŸ˜πŸ‘Š)

She has been tracked by the WWF since November 2015 and has given them lots of vital and interesting information about her herds movements and behaviour.

Numunyak makes all the decisions (like any leader would), including where to feed, bathe and rest. Thanks to signals from her collar, the WWF now know that she and her herd spend most of their time in the hilly forests around Olarro and Siana conservancies and that they are often joined by other herds.

Here are some pictures of the Olarro and Siana conservancies.

Groups of around 100 elephants might mingle together for a while in a big social gathering- a kind of jumbo networking event!

In the Maasai Mara, conservancy land owners pool their lands together and agree measures that allow for the free movement of wildlife, including the removal of fences- the majority of Africa’s reserves are fenced.

The conservancy often run as ecotourism ventures (Olarro you can actually find on facebook), in which local landowners recieve a monthly land lease payment and tourists can see elephants and other incredible animals in their natural habitat. Even though they’re not state protected, conservancy lands can be thriving wildlife havens, as Namunyak’s movements seem to show.

She and her clan tend to stick to the same core area between Olarro and Siana, with occasional trips to other neighbouring conservancies. WWF have also discovered that Namunyak occasionally raids crop fields owned by small-scale farmers near the conservancies- not only does she lead her own herd to the raids, they sometimes join with another herd to form a bigger group, making it harder for the farmers to deter them!

– She’s so clever and mischievous I love her!! 😍😍

Elephants are scared of bees and hate the smell of chilli so both of these measures are used to deter the elephants from crop yielding. Fences surrounding crops that are saturated with chili powder, generally mixed with waste engine oil, can be a strong deterrent to marauding elephants, particularly when constructed and managed strategically.

If farmers choose to keep bees they can also make a profit selling the honey from the beekeeping which acts as an extra income.

WWF are also supporting ranger teams locally to these areas who can quickly respond to calls from farmers to avoid a potential conflict between people and elephants.

The next important project is assessing the Mara ecosystem elephant population census which is due to take place this year- this is an airborne assessment.

The Mara is part of the Mara-Serengeti, which stretches 25,000 sq km across Kenya and Tanzania. There are no fences between the Mara and the Serengeti and the elephants often move from one place to the other- so they are seen as a single Mara-Serengeti population.

Thanks to conservation efforts this population has been stable and increasing since 1984 and the WWF are hoping that the census will show that this is still the case.

Cerrado: info and how the WWF are trying to help.

The Cerrado in South America covers a quarter of Brazil’s national territory, two million square km and is the second largest landscape in South America and the most biologically rich savanna in the world- containing 5% of the world’s species and Brazil’s biodiversity.

Cerrado acts as a water catchment and alone provides Brazil with 3 major aquifers and 6 of 8 of the largest watersheds in Brazil and is vital for water conservation in Brazil.

50% of it’s original vegetation cover has already disappeared and less than 3% of its area is effectively protected!!

It acts as a bridge between the Amazon, Pantanal, the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga.

The Cerrado is home to 30% of Brazil’s biodiversity including it’s own big five- jaguar’s, maned wolves, giant ant eaters, giant armadillos and tapirs yet right now, an area the size of Greater London is being cleared every 2 months to grow the world’s crops.

If land conversion continues at the current rate, the Cerrado could be gone in the next decade!

You might not realise it but food production is now the leading cause of deforestation and is responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss.

In Latin America one of the biggest problems linked to a global increase in meat and dairy consumption is clearance of natural habitats for cattle pasture in areas such as the Amazon.

The Cerrado is also hugely important for soya bean production!

Soy is grown in vast amounts, primarily to feed the pigs and chickens we eat. The UK alone consumes more than 3.3 million tonnes of soy each year and 75% is used for animal feed.

Soy can be grown sustainably, but 77% of UK soy imports currently come from Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay- countries where there is a high risk of deforestation.

How are WWF trying to help?

The way the WWF is trying to help is by…

β˜†Introducing practical measures to change the way soy is farmed.

Sustainable farming is crucial as there is very little of the Cerrado and Amazon left.

Sustainable soy farming includes creating wildlife corridors between large-scale agricultural areas and leaving land unfarmed at the edges of rivers to provide space for wildlife. WWF are helping local cooperative in the Cerrado to make a living from other sustainability harvested products such as cashews, baru nuts and paqui fruit. They are also pushing the UK government to ban the sale of any food that causes deforestation and are asking businesses to help.

In 2017, an alliance of WWF and more than 60 NGO’s in Brazil released a Cerrado Manifesto calling for investors and companies to take action.

Read the manifesto at: https://cerradostatement.fairr.org/about/

Numerous manufacturers and over 140 companies including Aldi, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose have signed a statement of support.

Visit the WWF website to read more and support a vital cause.

wwf.org.uk/save-cerrado

Until next time,

Faye x

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