WSPA – Human Elephant conflict reduction

WSPA – Human Elephant conflict reduction

– The chilli fence

Year: 2010 – 2012
Partners: WSPA

Project background

“Human-Wildlife conflict” refers to the many problems that arise when wild animals and humans vie for the same scarce resources. The result of conflicts between wildlife and humans may affect the entire ecosystem. lf conflicts are handled badly and many animals are killed, it may ultimately mean extinction of certain animal species. Since many “conflict animals” are central to the ecosystem, their extinction will have a large impact on both the food chain and conservation of species.

In Tanzania, 28% of the country is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Many people are therefore affected by mavement of wildlife. Those who live close to Mikumi National Park often see elephants trampling around destroying their fields and Villages. The traditional methods to scare the elephants off are to guard the fields and beat on drums when an elephant is approaching. This is combined with stone slings, spears and arrows. The local authorities that are responsible for protecting the areas adjacent to National Parks are known to offer fast but ineffective solutions. They disperse the flock, that returns shortly afterwards.

The chilli fence

In 2009, WSPA and the Tanzania Wildlife Research lnstitute (TAWIRI) co-operated with local villages to develop a practical approach that proved to work successfully; the chilli fence. The chillies used  are so strong that they are completely inedible for humans, and elephants cannot stand neither the taste nor the smell. When the chillies are used in the fences it effectively keeps the elephants away. A good example is a 14 day test we did in 2009, when the fence was tested by 24 local farmers. The results were amazing: No elephants entered the fields enclosed by the chili i fences, while the fields that were surrounded by regular fences were protected to 171(reported) cases of  “break in”.




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