Elephant Survival branches out into the United States


(Posted 22nd December 2016)

The Elephant Survival Organization, a Tanzanian conservation NGO, has opened a sister operation in America. ESO, which engages in advocacy and fundraising for Anti Poaching, has found support for its UAV Anti Poaching and Stakeholder campaigns in the United States where the conservation community is coming together to support African wildlife causes.

ESO’s principal work over the last two years has been carrying out the sometimes complex advocacy needed to launch the Bathawk Recon UAV Anti Poaching Surveillance Service and evaluating the technologies appropriate for the approach. ESO’s role is to support in the “Proof of Concept” is to find financial promotional and expert support to make it happen.

The “Drone” idea is an exciting one and Americans are coming out in support of the concept and the organization behind it. Mike Chambers, Executive Director at ESO Tanzania, says US philanthropic foundations like what they see about Tanzanian organizations coming up with solutions and reaching out to the US and Europe rather than ideas being imported. “Our concept was conceived in Tanzania and will be manned and operated locally” In fact a recruitment drive for pilot and communication officers from among local wildlife graduates is ongoing.

Florian Schmitzberger, ESO’s Director of Research is heading up the USA operation which will satisfy US tax regulation for charitable giving. Florian has been pivotal in finding and vetting the right UAV for the planned operational requirements and provides to the ESO team technical expertise and competence in sensor technologies. “Now that we have the right aircraft, we need to connect with the global conservation community to deploy the concept across the huge areas that need protection” said Florian.

ESO and Bathawk have been working together with the Private Sector Anti Poaching Initiative under the Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation. ESO is partnering to bring the Stakeholder Table campaign to a bigger – American – audience. PSAPI brings the human, community and participatory aspects to the equation that will be needed if a true solution, that works across all sectors, is ever implemented.

Mike and Florian have been working on this framework for three years now. “Africa based but globally supported”. Just like the poaching crisis itself is it happening in Africa but is caused by global market forces. The US campaign is on target to for the upcoming Proof of Concept. If that works however, Mike and Florian plan to reach out to a wider audience like interested supporters in Canada, the UK and Germany. This will be ready for rollout before the end of 2017.


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