19 Jan 2024
Human Impact on Elephant Habitat and Movement Patterns in Kitendeni Wildlife Corridor, Tanzania
Elephants: Moving from Conflicts to Coexistence with People in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area, West Kilimanjaro
The proposed project is a continuation of our previous Rufford funded project which revealed that occurrence of an average 185 elephant crop raids incidents yearly in the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area (EWMA). It was also found that elephant crop raid incidences occurred to farmland closer to the park boundaries. As an outcome, a detailed map of the HECs hotspots areas in relation to the locations of documented HECs in the EWMA was produced. Additionally, the project, shown that conservation awareness is vital to foster co-existence as the communities usually develop negative attitudes towards elephants following crop raid incidences, injuries, death and damage of infrastructures caused by elephants. Following occurrences of HECs incidences in the EWMA, through Focus Group Discussions it was discovered that local communities have been trying to mitigate the conflicts through different traditional non-lethal strategies which include noise making, making fire, use of torches, burning of chill bricks, chill burning, farm guarding, use of dogs to scare elephant etc.
Unfortunately, almost all strategies have failed to achieve the goal as they lose their effectiveness with time. Nevertheless, mitigation strategies such as trenches, electrical fences and light flashes are crucial but often expensive and raise animal welfare concerns. Yet, beehive fencing has been demonstrated to be one of the effective HECs mitigation strategy through reducing crop raids by elephants. While beehive fences can play the crucial role of minimizing HECs and improving community livelihoods by increasing crop productivity and honey harvesting, its effectiveness remains untested in Tanzania.
Therefore, the proposed project aims to:
(i) assess the effectiveness of beehive fencing as a deterrent against elephant crop raiding.
(ii) assess farmers perceptions of beehive fencing and coexistence with elephants.
(iii) raise awareness about elephant conservation among communities residing in or near elephant habitats.