Today many of Africa’s most charismatic and iconic species are at serious risk of extinction. Rhinos and wild dogs are critically endangered. Elephants are being poached at horrific rates of about 30,000 per year to supply ivory for markets around the world, especially China but also the USA and South East Asia. And even lions and giraffes, once thought to be in healthy populations, have both declined markedly to just 30,000 and 80,000 respectively. Current conservation approaches are failing to stop the decline of Africa’s species and a radical approach is now needed.
Tammie and Andy established Matson & Ridley Safaris out of a desire to make a lasting difference in the conservation of the world's remaining wild places. M&R Safaris achieves this in three main ways.
1) Ethical Safaris
By going on a safari with M&R Safaris, you are directly contributing to conservation of African wildlife because a portion of what you pay goes to the local communities who live with the wildlife and/or the national parks that protect them. Without the ecotourism operations, based on firm community partnerships, wildlife would no longer exist in these areas. Poaching would be rife. By working with ethical safari operators in Africa, like Asilia Africa and Wilderness Safaris, we ensure that what you pay to go on safari has direct benefits on the ground. The companies we use focus on giving benefits back to the locals like employment, support for schools and clinics, which ensures that poaching is kept to a minimum. By having these areas under the control of ethical tourism operators, this ensures the land isn't used for other less wildlife-friendly alternatives like agriculture and mining. And when you go on a safari, it's our firm belief that you will go home an ambassador for Africa's wildlife. Our guests become part of a growing community at M&R that wants to make a difference.
2) Donations to On-ground Project Partners
For almost two decades, Tammie and Andy have been raising funds for wildlife conservation, ranging from rehabilitating and returning to the wild orphaned baby elephants in India, supporting anti-poaching for rhinos in Zimbabwe including paying for ranger training and rewards for information, funding motorbikes to track endangered African wild dogs, and conducting large scale awareness campaigns to stop people buying ivory in SE Asia. The team at Matson & Ridley Safaris supports a growing suite of conservation projects pro bono, providing expertise, awareness and fund raising. You can visit some of these projects when you go on safari with us. It's not uncommon for our guests to go on safari and then want to donate further and do more to help.
3) Awareness Campaigns
Andy and Tammie are both big believers in using mainstream communication to leverage tangible outcomes for conservation. The prime example of this was the Earth Hour campaign, which Andy founded and ran til 2014, which resulted in large scale protection of both marine and terrestrial habitats across the world. The Let Elephants Be Elephants campaign, co-founded and run pro-bono by Tammie and Asian TV star, Nadya Hutagalung, is part of a major ongoing push to raise awareness to stop the illegal ivory trade in Asia. LEBE has just launched a campaign with Wild Aid in Thailand, which has the Thai soccer team, the 'war elephants' and Thai Hollywood star Tony Jaa, as frontline ambassadors to encourage people to stop the trade.
4) M&R Wild
A new initiative that is unique to Matson & Ridley Safaris, we now offer the opportunity to get directly involved in conservation as part of your safari. Experience what it's like to be an elephant researcher in Akagera National Park, Rwanda and walk with the rangers as you patrol the fence for breaks. M&R Wild projects go the extra mile in conservation, with funds from your safari directly supporting these projects on the ground. Read more here