'The Elephant in the Room' Talk Series

by Sally Cook

‘The Elephant in the Room’ Talk Series has launched to deliver hard facts and key takeaways from the front line of conservation and tourism in Africa.

A surge in wildlife poaching in Africa is expected, following the collapse of eco-tourism in Africa. But what is actually happening “on the ground”?

UK registered charity, How Many Elephants, has launched ‘The Elephant in The Room’ talk series to deliver accurate reporting from the front line of conservation and eco-tourism in Africa to the media.

The first talk, now available on demand, looks at how the collapse of eco-tourism in Africa is impacting the rural communities and the wildlife. Prominent minds in conservation and travel are brought together, including, founder of How Many Elephants, Holly Budge, who highlights the important role elephants play as a keystone species. Holly states: “Losing these important ecosystem engineers will be of extreme detriment to the environment and beyond; If the elephants go extinct, entire ecosystems could follow.

Holly also speaks about the vital work of the rangers on the front line and how they need our support now more than ever: “It was a rare privilege to immerse myself with the Akashinga Rangers in Zimbabwe and The Black Mambas in South Africa. I was able to learn what motivates these pioneering women to pursue their multifaceted roles as protectors, educators and beacons of hope. They are changing attitudes towards the role of women in Africa and beyond. Navigating the fundraising space is challenging right now. Talking about conservation issues when humanitarian issues are happening simultaneously is challenging too but the bigger picture remains; Covid-19 has demonstrated that nothing exists in isolation and everything is connected. Whether we are talking about climate change, biodiversity loss or Covid-19, it all relates to our fragile relationship with nature”.

Niall McCann, National Geographic Explorer and Biologist, gives an impassioned talk, speaking about his work as founder of National Park Rescue in Zimbabwe. They have succeeded in transforming a poacher’s paradise into a thriving park, with well trained and motivated rangers. Niall said: “It is too early to say what the effect of coronavirus will be on conservation in Africa, but it is likely to be disastrous, at least in the short-term. This is in part due to the collapse of the tourism industry that funds so much conservation in Africa, and in part due to significant urban-rural migration, putting ever more pressure on the natural habitats that are already struggling to provide sufficient ecosystem services to rural people. We are here to ensure that, when the pandemic is over, and the threat to nature subsides, there is still something left”.

Many safari lodges that offer protection to wildlife have been forced to reduce operations or close their doors. Beks Ndlovu, founder of African Bush Camps, says: “As a number of our camps are located in remote areas, it’s impossible to leave the properties unattended. We want to keep our staff motivated, oversee the surrounding environment and help protect the wildlife roaming our properties. We also have a responsibility to preserve our resources and continue giving back to our communities”.

If you have a holiday booked, it is strongly urged that you postpone your trip rather than cancel, so the money can be invested into keeping the lodges open and the rural workers employed.

‘The Elephant in The Room’ Talk #1 is now available on demand for a donation of £10 which will support rangers on the front line in Africa, including the Black Mambas and Akashinga.

The second live talk in the series is on June 25th at 4pm BST, where Holly Budge will be in conversation with world renowned conservationist and green safari pioneer, Colin Bell. They will be talking all things wildlife conservation and why community-based tourism is vital for wildlife conservation in Africa.


About How Many Elephants:

Prepare to Think Big. At How Many Elephants, we make complex data beautifully visual to educate and inspire a global audience about the devastating impacts of the African Elephant ivory trade. Picture 35,000 elephants on display. This is the number poached in a year. Part of the originality of this hard-hitting design-led campaign is in our approach to avoid gruesome and shocking imagery to portray the facts. It’s not about scaring people; it’s about sharing the sheer scale of the poaching crisis. To actually see and connect with this data visually is highly impactful.

Speaker Bios

Holly Budge, Founder of How Many Elephants, is a world class adventurer, an Everest Summiteer and the first woman to skydive Everest. She has fundraised over £400K and is gaining momentum quicker than a charging herd of elephants, both in the world of conservation and as an inspirational speaker. hollybudge.com | @hollybudge

Niall McCann, Founder of National Park Rescue, shared the work the team have done in Chizarira National Park in Zimbabwe. They’ve transformed a poachers’ paradise into a thriving park, with well trained and highly motivated rangers. niallmccann.com | @niallmccann

Beks Ndlovu, Professional Guide and Founder of African Bush Camps, became not only a tour operator but a social entrepreneur. One of the most enterprising and inspiring players in the African tourism industry today, he promotes travel to Africa around the world and promotes incorporating travel with conservation. africanbushcamps.com | @africanbushcamps


Howard Salinger, Managing Director of Travel Connection Group (TCG), a consultancy offering PR advice and event support to travel companies or to companies wishing to work with travel brands. He has developed a series of online events called ‘Social with Media’ since the UK went into lockdown and has experience of moderating online events for several travel brands. travelconnectiongroup.com | @TravConGroup

For more information, visit: www.howmanyelephants.org www.hollybudge.com


IMAGES AVAILABLE HERE (please credit ‘How Many Elephants’)


The SAA Travel Trade has been offered the opportunity to view this talk with 100% off the donation price.

Please use the following link. https://bit.ly/HMEOnDemand with the promo code is: HMESATT_100

If the promo code isn’t used, it’s a donation of £10 to view. 100% will go to the charity How Many Elephants who are supporting rangers on the front line in Africa, including the Black Mambas and Akashinga.



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