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World Elephant Day: Meet Gorongosa’s Elephants

August 12th marks World Elephant Day, an annual celebration of some of the Earth’s most majestic creatures. Here at Gorongosa Coffee, we’re so excited and proud to share with you the incredible work Gorongosa National Park’s Wildlife Conservation Department is doing, powered by your support of our delicious coffee!

World Elephant Day also serves as an important reminder. Too often we forget that Mother Earth is home to so much diversity of life, and our actions as a society are oftentimes not the kindest to the habitats they need to thrive. That’s a big reason why national parks, and the sanctuaries they represent, play such a critical role in preserving the beauty of our world and all of the flora and fauna within.

Elephants in Gorongosa National Park

Gorongosa’s Elephants

Elephants are special for a myriad of reasons. Not only are they extraordinary animals due to their social complexity, intelligence, and incredible memory, but they also play a key role in shaping the ecosystems that they live in. In our case, we are lucky enough to call Gorongosa National Park home to over 900 elephants, who roam the Park’s untamed wilderness and are living proof of how elephant populations can bounce back and overcome incredible obstacles.

At the tail end of the twentieth century, Mozambique faced a 17-year civil war , and Gorongosa National Park - including its elephant population -  was caught in the crossfire. Through the dedication of Park rangers and the communities surrounding Gorongosa, we’ve been able to slowly rebuild over the past few decades. The number of elephants roaming the vast savannah has steadily climbed back up from the 200 that survived the war to more than 800 today, which has given us the opportunity to continue to uncover their immense impact and beauty.

The Elephant Ecology Project

Our delicious coffee blends support many different initiatives around Gorongosa National Park, one of the most critical being the Elephant Ecology Project. As researchers began to learn more about the different animals that live within Gorongosa, they found that some species were able to have a profound impact on the local ecosystem. 

This is especially true of elephants, who are sometimes known as “ecosystem engineers.” The dynamics behind elephants’ movements and decisions to seek refuge or feed in certain habitats can shape those environments. Dominique Gonçalves, the manager of the Elephant Ecology Project, and Joyce Poole, an elephant researcher and founder of the nonprofit ElephantVoices, both work tirelessly to further expand our knowledge and understanding of these wonderful animals and the unique role they play in Gorongosa. From lessons of remarkable resilience to some of their fun antics, it only becomes clearer every day that we need to protect these elephants and the place they call home.

Dominique Goncalves and Joyce Poole

On August 12, we invite you all to learn more about Dominique, Joyce, and Gorongosa’s elephants. Join us live on Facebook at 8 AM PST on World Elephant Day - we'd love to see you there!

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