We support farmers and communities to identify, demonstrate and learn best practices to deter elephants from fields and crops and how to be safer around elephants. Though farmers throughout the Panhandle face the day-to-day struggle of protecting their fields from elephants, they often work in isolation of each other. A “Community-Based Conflict Mitigation approach entails a shared responsibility, collective action and exchange of lessons learnt on what does work. It also strives to improve communication and relationships between the government and local communities, part of a strategy to address human-human conflict. It has resulted in a set of effective, affordable, and adaptive tools and techniques to prevent negative interactions with elephants.
Some effective field deterrents range from low-cost tradition methods of drumming and placing tin cans and plastic on fences, to farming and adopting chili pepper fencing and briquettes, and bee-hive fences, to more techniques that require more costly equipment like solar lights, solar electric fences. A multi-layered approached is preferable, targeting most or all of an elephants senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. It also includes adapting practices to elephant feeding and movement behaviour, like planting unpalatable crops, earlier in the planting season when there are less elephants around.
Importantly, these mitigation measures are implemented using a landscape approach, avoiding blocking movement corridors and other essential resource use areas, focusing on area or zone-based interventions, like protecting clusters of fields, with more than 100 farmers inside a single fence, which is located away from elephant corridors.
Our work to improve safety for people in their everyday lives has resulted in building partnerships to establish an “Elephant Express” service to assist children and clinic-goers to travel safely across elephant corridors. We also help to build and spread knowledge of how to behave if you see an elephant when you are on foot, using local experts and a collaborative curriculum for education talks in villages and schools.
Read about `Sharing Space, Elephant Economy and `Elephant Aware Farming`