The whole premise on which Abu is based is that of elephant conservation. The largest of land mammals is a keystone species (in other words, one that has a large effect on the ecosystem in which it lives) and an integral part of Africa’s web of life.

The great paradox of elephant conservation is that while many African countries are experiencing rapidly declining elephant populations, others – such as Botswana – must cope with burgeoning numbers. Both declining and growing elephant populations present their own challenges, so applied research and adaptive management are essential in their resolution.

The Abu elephant conservation strategy is based on understanding key issues impacting the conservation of southern Africa’s elephants through working with local research institutions. Research goals include investigating important aspects of elephant conservation and behaviour. It is hoped that the lessons learned can make a positive contribution to the future survival of elephants across Africa.

The Abu Herd members are eloquent ambassadors for elephant conservation, and several elephants have been reintroduced to the wild, where they continue to provide valuable data to local researchers and conservationists. Several of these elephants have remained in the Abu concession, and cause much delight all round when their wanderings bring them close to camp.