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Information provided by: The Askari Project

The Askari Project has compiled a unique safari in Tsavo, Kenya, that takes lucky participants to see the largest tuskers left in Africa, and in so-doing contribute directly to elephant conservation funding. 

The elephants of Africa are once again under serious threat due to large scale poaching for their ivory tusks. The current poaching surge is resulting in an estimated 25,000 elephants being killed throughout Africa each and every year. This equates to approximately one elephant being killed every 15 minutes to supply the black market demand for ivory.

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Askari is the swahili word for soldier. It is a term often given to young bull (male) elephants found in the company of larger, older and more experienced bulls. These young bulls learn many things from their more experienced teacher, things they will need to become a dominant bull of the future. In return these ‘askaris’ serve as a posse providing company and security to the older bull with many eyes and ears more effective at detecting threats and dealing with dangers.

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With the present dangers that all elephants, especially these older bulls currently face due to the escalation in ivory poaching, they urgently need our help as well. The Askari Project was developed to be another ‘askari’ to these older bulls, and has been set up to raise funding and support for elephant conservation and the protection of some of the last great tuskers of Africa.

The funding and support is directed to the projects and conservation operations of The Tsavo Trust, which is a Kenyan not-for-profit organisation based in the Greater Tsavo ecosystem. Their vitally important work in this famous region involves protecting and conserving Kenya’s largest remaining population of elephants, which include some of the last great tuskers of Africa.

Tusker is the term used to describe bull elephants that have tusks that weigh in excess of 45 kilograms (100 pounds). The largest tusks on official record belong to an African bull elephant shot in 1898 on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. Together they weighed a combined 209kg – the longest one measuring 318cm.

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When the elephant population, once estimated to number more than 5 million individuals, dominated the African landscape, large tuskers were common. They roamed and ruled over the African savannahs for centuries passing on their genes, knowledge and experience to future elephant generations, but now this is all being lost due to human activity, greed and corruption.

The immense size of their tusks and the profits they bring have meant that tuskers have been relentlessly targeted by elephant hunters and poachers. As they have vanished, their magnificent genes are lost forever and their place in the savannah ecosystem is disappearing. Tuskers are now incredibly rare with possibly as few as 20-30 left on the entire African continent. The Greater Tsavo ecosystem containing Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu Hills National Parks is home to the largest population of tuskers left in East Africa. 

The Askari Project in conjunction with RAW Africa Ecotours is currently offering an incredible opportunity to come on safari in Kenya and get a unique behind-the-scenes look at the conservation work of The Tsavo Trust, meet some of the hard working staff and accompany them on the search for some of the magnificent elephants they monitor in the region.

This 12-day tour from 20 to 31 August 2016 offers some fantastic safari highlights, but also contributes funding directly to elephant conservation and the ongoing protection of some of the last tuskers of Africa that call Tsavo home. Hosted by the founder of the Askari Project, Bradd Johnston, the tour costs US$5,295 per people and the group size is restricted to just 10 lucky people. Email for further information or bookings.

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