What do elephants mean to people?

This submission has open access
Submission Summary

For conservation to succeed, the strategies, plans, and implementation thereof need a mandated vision from society as to what the intentions of conservation in that context are. To develop a National Elephant Conservation Strategy, we highlighted the need for bottom-up consultation, ensuring that voices closest to elephant management were heard. A series of workshops, which are still ongoing, provided inputs for us to use to consolidate an understanding of what elephants mean to people, or, alternately, what the role of elephants in society is. The views and inputs from the consultations are reported here. Firstly, we gained an understanding of the circumstances for the conservation of elephants under the sections: benefits of elephants to humans, risks of housing elephants, costs of housing elephants, and key approaches to managing elephants. Following from that, participants provided insights into a potential National Elephant Conservation Strategy, including elements for a collective vision, the attributes to include, risks to mitigate, and key considerations for the strategy to assess. We present a synthesis of the benefits, the threats, and how people believe we should invest our resources, and how our support and regulatory mechanisms should be framed for enhancing success. Besides improving our understanding of required biodiversity/ecological attributes, consultations highlighted the under-representation of social and societal components in practice to date, and emphasise the importance of framing those correctly, with the correct weighting, in order to ensure social resilience, and societal sustainability, for any conservation strategy for elephants, and the land on which they roam, to be successful.

Submission ID :
conservationsym201956
Submission Type
Oral Presentation
Submission Topic
Closed Special Session: Feedback, reflections, and learnings from developing a National Elephant Conservation Strategy

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