Amboseli elephants are increasingly under threat due to environmental pollution and shrinking elephant range with humans rapidly encroaching on their migratory corridors and habitats. As a result, cases of human-elephant conflict are on the rise. Encroachment has been described as the greatest danger to elephant conservation because it is slow and silent yet as deadly and irreversible as a poacher’s bullet.
On 18th April 2014 in Oltiani area of Amboseli’s Kimana group ranch a 12-15 year old elephant succumbed to spear injuries due to human-elephant conflict. It is suspected that the elephant was speared for invading a farm in a different area.
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The April-July season in Amboseli is known for an escalation in human wildlife conflict prompted by the mature grain crops in farms. The elephants innocently wander into these farms to forage at night resulting in lost harvest and possible injury to the farmer on one hand and a dead or injured elephant on the other.
When a group of 50 massive and mature jumbos weighing up to 5 tonnes invade ten acres of mature corn the losses can be dire.
Hence the need to protect the elephants from danger but also ensure that farmers do not lose their season’s toil.
IFAW seeks to strike a delicate balance to make sure that the elephant and the farmer co-exist through several ways. IFAW leased Kitenden Corridor which is 16,000 acres of land where the elephants can continue to live in their natural habitat while providing financial returns to the land owners.
Eventually the plan is for the community to gain long-term through tourism when the area is developed into a conservancy. IFAW has supported the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) with a vehicle and fuel for the vehicle to patrol and guard farms especially at night when the elephants are most active.
Through the Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani, IFAW has supported the training of 20 community wildlife rangers to empower them with skills in elephant protection and repulsion. IFAW has also opened up Kitenden Access road to ensure a rapid response from both KWS and community rangers to farmers’ distress calls.
The next thing IFAW plans to do it to work closely with KWS and community rangers to empower the local community in protecting their farms and; strategize on humane approaches to discourage the elephants from raiding farms.
With your continued support we aspire to have zero elephant deaths due to human elephant conflict and no lose in farmers’ harvest.
Amboseli being a UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) reserve presents both challenges and opportunities to chat the future of wildlife conservation locally and internationally in the face of increasing human population and limited space.
We applaud most of the Amboseli Maasai community for protecting the elephants despite the risk of losing their harvest. Despite all these challenges, Amboseli is a true haven for the African elephant which should be guarded with zeal, and that is where you come in.
Kindly help us.
The elephants need you.
For more information about IFAW efforts to help protect elephants, visit our campaign page.
Article source: IFAW