Published: 01 December 2017
Human-elephant conflicts mostly exist where human populations and wild life share resources outside protected areas. The negative impacts of these conflicts affect both humankind and wild life. The Mara river basin has been the key link between Serengeti Ecosystem in Tanzania and Massai-Mara ecosystem in Kenya connected through annual wildlife migration. However, for a long time the communities bordering both the Serengeti and the Massai Mara Ecosystem have been experiencing conflicts caused by elephants that destroy their crops.
The food insecurity caused by elephants that raid crops leads to changes in the livelihood system of local population and increased dependence on natural resources like forest products, poaching, and migration to town by men leaving women and children in difficult living situation of a degraded Mara Watershed as well.
Serengeti Development Research and Environmental Conservation Centre (SEDEREC) embarked on a new strategy of engaging communities to patrol and protect crops from elephants in their villages. SEDEREC is member of Tanzania National Discourse Forum (TNDF) and has some of its activities in the Mara River basin.
SEDEREC has constructed a non-electrical wire fence along 12 villages, as a friendly measure to improving co-existence between elephants and farmers by keeping elephants within protected area, in addition to restoration of the Mara Basin.
About 42.5 Kilometers have been covered. Recently, SEDEREC established and trained 35 youth groups in 22 villages on sustainable resource management, and wildlife laws and regulations. The training was then followed by supporting them with field patrol equipments and protective gears.
To mitigate the Human- Elephants conflicts, measures have been taken including but not limited to the beehive fence. This was after the research conducted by Dr. Lucy E. King’s research which found that a significant number of elephants in a sample of 18 families and subgroups of varying sizes, reacted negatively-immediately by walking or running away when they heard the buzz of disturbed bees. SEDERC introduced this new technology in 2015 using Grumeti fund and established 10 demonstration plots that hold 300 beehives at Rwamchanga and Misseke villages. This has resulted in the increase of crop production as no more elephant could invade their crops in the fields, and restoration of this part of the Mara basin.