Dear Friends of Elephant Havens,
Even though we can’t travel to Elephant Havens right now, the good work our team is doing is going strong. While our young elephants thrive on the natural grasses and browse that the Okavango Delta provides at our orphanage, the local human community has been hit very hard by the loss of tourism.
Hunger is a real thing there. So at Elephant Havens we have pivoted to a sort of mobile food bank operation. We can regularly identify those in most need and can be there to help. Because of your kindness supporting this effort we currently feed approximately 50 people.
Unbeknownst to me, our team also pooled their money to buy clothing for a particularly hard hit family. Supporting the local community is one of the Elephant Havens missions—we’ve seen that we can change hearts and minds when we work together. This trait comes naturally for our team, and I believe you would all be proud of the work they are doing in the community.
Right now I am so excited about an initiative that our operations manager, Ips, is spearheading. We have contacted some artisans that are going to teach five women in the local community to make handmade paper from elephant dung! They can make notebooks, boxes, and other items that they can sell in our gift shop and to the safari lodges.
The great thing about this project is we have plenty of the raw material available at no cost! We are very excited about this and looking forward to seeing it move forward. Ips is a force of nature and is devoted to helping women form their own businesses. I bet we will have elephant dung notebooks before you know it.
In other news, in accordance with the animal welfare guidelines drafted by ABTA—a travel trade association of tour operators and travel agents—we have installed proper barricades at the sanctuary whereby orphaned and rescued elephant calves are physically separated from those who visit the orphanage, and interactions are conducted in a way that is safe for guests and respectful of the elephants.
Elephant Havens strives to maintain all operations in compliance with ABTA animal welfare guidelines and appreciates the work that has gone into the development of its manual. When the risk of COVID is over, we will allow one hour each day for visitors to see our orphans and tour our facilities. Guests will also have an educational opportunity to learn more about elephants and conservation.
Until then, as a gift to all of our friends and donors, we’d like to bring a little joy and some smiles to your day with your own Zoom video calls to Elephant Havens. We delight in watching your faces light up when you meet our elephants and team members. All of the handlers love sharing their knowledge about elephants and the love they feel for these little orphans. This is your orphanage—we couldn’t have built it without you—so we’d love to give you a virtual visit.
We try and include a few surprises during the calls, so if you need a pick-me-up or just want to see the work that we are doing, please call or email me and I will set up a call with you and as many of your friends as you like. I promise you will hang up a changed person.
Call (+1) 972-620-2523 or email email@example.com to set up your Zoom call.
Please know how grateful we all are for your support. I know there are lots of organizations vying for your donation dollars. I am confident that we are good stewards of your gifts and are doing the best we can to make the world a little happier place.
We are, as always, standing by to answer any questions about Elephant Havens, or if you just want to talk about elephants. I would suggest giving me a time limit or I might talk your ear off! I am very passionate, to say the least.
Our Future Projects
We would love to hear from you if you would like to help or learn more about any of these projects.
Building an electric fence for 800 acres that was gifted to us from the local community for the soft release of our orphans
Drilling a freshwater well for the community that recently gifted us that land
Expanding our staff village with 4 more permanent tents to put more of our staff in permanent housing
Getting a bus so we can take the local children to school so they don’t have to walk miles every day through elephant corridors