Crazy times, but we have some good news to share
Hello Team Elephant Havens!
I know this is a crazy time for all of us, so I want to share some happy news. We don’t have to look very hard to see the good that is happening at Elephant Havens.
We have been able to keep all 17 of our staff working and fully paid!
All of our elephant babies are healthy and happy.
There have only been 23 cases of COVID-19 in Botswana, so their lockdown is working!
Botswana actually put up roadblocks, and people are not allowed to leave their homes without a permit to go shopping. Bee and Ipeleng have been able to get special permits to move around so they can do the grocery shopping for our staff and babies.
All of this is such great news!
Of course, we had expected that this year would be our first where international travelers could visit and see, firsthand, the project you all have made possible. That is not going to happen anytime soon now, but we are certainly ready once travel resumes. In the meantime, we love to share on social media. We are fortunate to have staff members at Elephant Havens who have an eye and ear for good photo, video and audio content along with creativity that never ceases to amaze me. Plus, the elephants are all big hams. \
Speaking of social media, we’re excited that Susanna Newsome will be coming on board to handle ours this summer. This is a major upgrade given that she’s a teen and I’m not! She understands this social media world and I understand that, well, I just don’t understand it. Susanna visited the orphanage last year and has been one of our biggest cheerleaders. She was planning another visit this June, but due to the lockdown she won’t be able to. But she will keep you all up-to-date on what’s going on at Elephant Havens. So please start following us on Facebook and Instagram, if you aren’t already.
I also want to share that Tracy and Kent Rathbun, along with Rathbun Restaurants, are donating monthly to feed folks in our Elephant Havens community who need us the most. I was contacted by a friend in Maun who was formerly on the waitstaff at one of the Delta safari lodges. He and his family had not had a proper meal in nine days. That started the wheels turning and, with Tracy’s help, Ips is out buying food at this very moment to feed eight hungry families who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
What a great privilege for our team to help those who are in need. If you’re in Dallas, please think about ordering from Tracy’s and Kent’s restaurants to help give back. We all love Shinsei, Lovers Seafood and, of course, Rathbun Curbside BBQ. Oh, and don’t forget Imoto and Republic Texas Tavern.
More good news: Bee got official approval from the Land Board for the 800 new acres that the local community gifted us! Yes, that’s correct….gifted us. Their kindness will allow us to have a large area of land for these orphaned elephants to graduate to as they outgrow the main orphanage. There they will gradually have less contact with humans to prepare them for the day we will collar them with monitors and release them into the wild. Of course, it will be many years before this happens, but it is our ultimate goal.
It is the most beautiful piece of Okavango Delta land, with a river and great forage and grazing areas. Every tree and bit of brush will be a delicacy for our elephants. Bee has done incredible work to forge this remarkable relationship with the community, and we are honored that they want to support our project.
Our next step with the land will be a big project to fence the land with our “patented” solar-powered, wild elephant-proof, electric fencing. Does anyone want naming rights to an electric fence? We can certainly provide that opportunity!
All in all, life is great at Elephant Havens. Your support, as always, is keeping us going and reminding us of the goodness in humanity. All of this great news is because of you, our wonderful donors. Scott and I are grateful for your trust and the opportunity for us all to make a difference in the world.