Human-wildlife conflict remains a significant problem in many parts of the world. Whether it be elephants trampling crops or lions and leopards killing livestock, many people are affected and it can be difficult to stop the problem. This in turn harms conservation efforts because local communities perceive wildlife as a pest and a problem and are therefore less willing to support conservation efforts and may even kill wildlife.
Many solutions require farmers to be constantly vigilant day and night to prevent wildlife raids, for instance banging saucepans together to scare off wildlife. This puts a significant strain on farmers and can also lead to young children not receiving education as they are tasked with looking after the crops or livestock. Developing solutions that are simple, cost-effective and do not require a permanent human presence is therefore key to solving this problem.
One such solution I have been aware of for some time is that bees have been shown to be effective at scaring elephants away, so projects are now underway to create ‘bee fences’ around farmers’ crops.
Another example that I came across today is from Kenya, where a young boy called Richard Turere has developed an innovative solution to prevent lions from Nairobi National Park from killing his cows. He tells the story a lot better than I could, so I’ll simply put the link here for you to click through and watch.
There are many more similar efforts going on all around the world, all of which serve as a reminder that the solutions to these problems are often simple but require a bit of creativity and innovation to come up with them.
Richard Milburn, The Marjan Centre