Serengeti Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation Program
Poaching and destroying wildlife natural habitats by setting bush fires, cutting down trees for timber, firewood and charcoal have triggered critical human-elephant conflict involving over 30,000 people living in 16 villages that border the Serengeti National Park in Bunda district. This project will address the root causes of the conflict – poverty and lack of conservation education – through village meetings about conservation and habitat utilization, lessons about family planning, and the development of an exemplary chilli pepper and ginger farm in Bukore village. Strategies for repelling the elephants from the village crops, producing alternative incomes through the sales of chilli peppers and ginger and the acquisition of a grain grinding machine will sustain the project when donor funds come to an end. Villagers will also be encouraged to cultivate their own chilli pepper and ginger farms to generate incomes.
UPDATE – Final Report, December 2014
The full report can be DOWNLOADED HERE.
SUMMARY OF PROGRESS:
All 3 outputs of the project have successfully been executed:
Provision of wildlife and habitat conservation education.
- COPRECOT sees the provision of wildlife and habitat conservation education as a continuous task set to involve future generations.
In the June 2014 mid-term report, evidence of successful training results was provided.
And during the period of July to December 2014 an information board was erected at Bukore village with the intention of disseminating basic information on how to conserve wildlife and deter elephants from raiding crops using chilli peppers.
School children, pedestrians, vehicle drivers and cyclists get attracted and stop at the board to read the information and then continue with their journeys.
Establishment of chilli pepper and ginger farms in the 5 villages.
- The farms at Bukore and Nyamatoke village were established before June but those at Kunzugu, Mihale and Hunyari were established later after receipt of additional funds from the IEF. The investigators have decided to abandon the ginger crop because it is difficult to get its seeds and most of the plants die up may be the soil here is not suitable for the crop.
Demonstrative training on how to deter elephants from raiding crops using chilli peppers was conducted at the farms; please see attached photographs and video clips:
- Moulding blocks of elephant dung mixed with chilli peppers which are burnt in the farms at night to repel elephants.
- Smearing ropes with a concentrate of grease mixed with chilli peppers used as fencing material to keep elephants away from farms.
- Farmers have already started growing crops mixing with chilli peppers in same farm.
It has not yet been established which one of these 3 methods is the most effective in elephant deterrence because the peppers reached harvesting time at the end of the project.
Installation of a grain grinding machine at Bukore village.
- The installation of the machine was done and the machine is working.
The investigators helped the village community to prepare a constitution in participatory manner stating how the income from the machine would be managed. The document clearly states the responsibilities over the funds of the Village Wildlife Conservation Committee (VWCC).
The average income per month from the machine was not established because the period from August to December was too short to get a realistic statistical figure. However the machine is now supporting the buying of grease, ropes etc.
After establishing chilli pepper farms at villages of Bukore and Nyamatoke, the communities in the other 3 villages of Kunzugu, Mihale and Hunyari felt they were discriminated and so they demanded for farms to be established there. We had to comply with the demands and thanks to the IEF for providing additional funding to that connection.
Similar demands for grinding machines have been made by the village communities at Kunzugu, Nyamatoke, Mihale and Hunyari. However most of the villages have proposed to be provided with bajaji instead of grinding machine as the income from a grinding machine is small.
A bajaji is a three wheeled motorcycle with a small trailer suitable for transportation of farm inputs and crops.
Although members of the Village Wildlife Conservation Committee are mentoring the project well in those villages, it is an imperative thing to give them support hence COPRECOT is planning to comply with their demands.
At COPRECOT we highly appreciate for the financial support we received from the International Elephant Foundation in 2014.
Your funds Ladies and Gentlemen enabled us to successfully implement Phase two of our multi-year program, the Serengeti Human Elephant Conflict Mitigation Program.
Families in the 5 villages were planning to abandon their homes and go to live in places where elephants could not reach their farms. But after seeing positive results of the project within 12 months only, they have changed their minds. “If it is a matter of growing chilli peppers to drive away elephants; we will grow more and nobody will leave” they say. Your funds have therefore relieved many people of life worries in the 5 villages.
Although the grant didn’t provide a subsidy for overhead costs for our organization, the name of the organization has been broadened by the good work done using IEF funds.
Neighbouring village communities say “we have read about your work on the information board and seen what your organization has done to our neighbours when will your project reach us?”
We will keep the International Elephant Foundation fully informed about this program even if we get grants from other organizations because of the love you have shown for the program. We have never heard of a grant making organization remitting additional funds to a grantee in the course of project implementation. Thank you for trusting us so much.