Fostering Human-Elephants Coexistence in Villages Surrounding Tarangire National Park

Agriphina Machaninga

Elephant populations have historically endured significant declines (Burton, 2000), yet recent studies indicate a resurgence in certain African elephant populations (Morrison, 2016). This growth coincides with a surge in human-elephant conflicts across the continent, particularly impacting food security in regions like northern Tanzania. The Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem (TME) in northern Tanzania, celebrated for its vast elephant herds and seasonal wildlife migrations, is witnessing a troubling rise in human-elephant conflicts among neighbouring farming communities.

These conflicts, marked by crop raids and resulting in food insecurity, economic losses, injuries, and even fatalities, disproportionately affect marginalized communities such as the Warangi, Datoga, Maasai, and Wambugwe residing near the Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem (TME). Despite various efforts like farm guarding, the use of flashlights, noise-making devices, chill bombs, and other traditional mitigation methods (H. Thomas, 2019), finding effective and affordable solutions remains a formidable challenge. Urgent action is imperative to mitigate these conflicts to safeguard livelihoods and conserve elephant populations.

To address this pressing challenge, the project titled "Fostering Human-Elephant Coexistence in Villages Surrounding Tarangire National Park," funded by the Rufford Small Grant Foundation, is currently underway. This initiative aims to promote coexistence through ecologically and economically viable strategies, with a specific focus on utilizing beehive farm fencing to deter Savannah African Elephants from causing crop damages, particularly in highly human-elephant conflict (HEC)-prone areas such as Natalia village. The proposed technique has already been successfully implemented in western Tanzania by the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program (STEP) in communities surrounding Ruaha and Udzungwa National Parks, as well as in Kenya (King et al., 2017). Therefore, this project seeks to employ a similar method to reduce HEC, ensure food security, and conserve elephant populations in the Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem (TME) without affecting the connectivity of the Ecosystem and thereby enhancing genetic diversity of the Savannah African Elephants.

Project Updates