The Buffelsdrift Foundation was established to support conservation and community projects in southern Africa.
Funds for the Buffelsdrift Foundation are derived from tourism and from external funders. The Foundation aims to support projects that are focused on the long-term sustainable conservation of wild populations of threatened or endangered species.
Another very important function of the foundation is to help taking care of the school (Vrederust) close to Buffelsdrift. Government funds are limited and the foundation contributes towards teachers salaries, the education material needed as well as the upkeep of the school facilities.
Currently the fund supports the research and conflict mitigation work of the N/a’an ku sê Foundation, where a group of 125 free-roaming African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are in conflict with commercial farming in the north-east of Namibia in the Mangetti area.
The focus of this project is to monitor the elephants through GPS satellite collars, camera traps and drone technology to get a better understanding of their movements and where conflict occurs.
This information is shared with all the relevant stakeholders, which include commercial farmers. The project involves two fulltime biologists and does not only focus on elephants, but also on Namibia’s most endangered carnivore, the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus).
It is estimated that on 260,000 hectares (the study site) only 32 wild dogs still survive, and because their natural prey has been poached and at very low numbers, the conflict with cattle farmers is inevitable. The Buffelsdrift Foundation has made a donation towards an elephant collar for this project, which is an invaluable piece of equipment needed for the project.
The Buffelsdrift Foundation also plays a vital role in looking after and caring for the animals that make Buffelsdrift their home. The elephants and lions kept at Buffelsdrift have to be cared for and as comfortably as possible. This is a very important function of the Buffelsdrift Foundation – making sure that tourism funds are also applied to animal care.
Our three elephants were orphaned when their adults were poached and therefore come from circumstances that if we did not intervene they would not be alive today. We did not choose this life for them, but rather chose to give them the best possible life within our means with the best possible love and care.
Their handler raised them and fed them 36 litres of milk each, every 4 hours. They are now in an excellent condition and these elephants are in an excellent condition and have a lot of freedom – they especially enjoy playing in the dam next to the lodge. The only animal friendly interaction between human and these elephants daily are purely of educational nature.
The clients are informed of the relationship between handler and the elephants and the difference between the African and Asian elephant. Our elephants do not undergo any form of abuse or cruelty and are trained by positive reinforcement which strengthens the bond and relationship between elephant and handler.
A portion of the funds accumulated by the Elephant Excursions are donated towards the funding of Elephant collars. This assists in tracking their movement and therefore mitigating human and Elephant conflict.
Whereas the Founder is desirous of creating the trust herein referred to and which shall be active in Southern Africa in the protection of biodiversity through sustainable conservation practices. The Trust’s vision is to actively mitigate the difficult crisis of human-wildlife conflict, and to actively address this complex, multi-faceted, challenge by becoming global leaders and ultimately setting the conservation example of mitigation that the world can reliably and optimistically follow.
Also, as a proudly South African foundation/trust the founder and trustees are aware of the intricate demographic composition of the country and committed to contribute towards reconciliation through the trust’s vision of empowerment, development, education and mentor-ship of the beneficiary community.