December 2016 – For over 20 years, Abu Camp has offered its guests a rare African experience of walking and interacting with elephants in the wild. Located within the vast 180 000-hectare (450 000-acre) Abu Concession, a pristine, exclusive wilderness in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, guests can closely observe and interact with the Abu Herd and learn about wildlife and habitat conservation from guides, elephant experts and researchers. Following an extensive review of its programme and in compliance with recent government directives, as of 31 December 2016, Abu Camp will no longer allow guests to ride elephants. The Camp will continue to focus its programme on respectful, less intrusive forms of elephant interaction and education consistent with the highest industry standards, including its immersive walking-based experience.
“Our Abu elephant programme focuses on the full elephant conservation experience, offering guests and families the unique opportunity to spend time with the Abu Herd, walking with them through the bush, observing them up close in the wild and getting to know their individual characters, whilst most importantly learning more about the importance of elephant conservation from local guides and researchers,” stated Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.
Abu Camp has received worldwide recognition for its innovative work with orphaned and rejected elephants who have come together to form the Abu Herd. This herd of personalities, from matriarch Cathy to naughty youngest, Naledi, forms the heart of the interactive elephant experience, where guests meet, walk and intermingle with the animals. Abu is a place that concentrates on the broader and more meaningful element of elephant conservation and involves its guests in these efforts.
The Camp’s vision has always been to care for these abused or orphaned elephants and, where possible, to return these elephants that have spent much of their life in captivity back into the African wild. The movements and behaviour of the reintroduced elephants are studied by scientists in the wild, thus contributing significantly to our understanding of the conservation issues that the species faces. Since the inception of Abu Camp, nine elephants have been successfully reintroduced into the wild.
“Through the centre of excellence that we have created at Abu Camp, we hope to become the world’s leading experts on everything related to elephant conservation and to share our knowledge with all Government and conservation partners and guests to ensure the long-term survival of the species. The Abu Herd members also function as ambassadors for their species, sharing with guests an important message of conservation and hope for each elephant life. We look forward to continue offering our guests a life-changing elephant experience at this remarkable camp”, said Wellington Jana, head of Abu Camp’s elephant team.