Farmer demonstrating firecrackers in Kajire-to-Rombo-Team-during-ToT

Save the Elephants – working to foster coexistence between elephants and communities

ROR International donates to Save the Elephants efforts to tackle human-elephant conflict and foster coexistence between elephants and communities.

Climate change, drought, human population growth and other pressures on the landscape are forcing  human and wild animal populations into ever closer contact. On the edge of some of Kenya’s national parks, wild elephants pose a threat to subsistence farmers as both parties compete for scarce resources. It’s important to find solutions to help both elephants and communities to coexist.

To address this issue, Save the Elephants (STE) has developed a Human-Elephant Coexistence Toolbox – a manual of practical, affordable and tried-and-tested deterrents to help communities protect their livelihoods from elephants in conflict hotspots. STE teams are providing training (as pictured above) to at-risk communities across Africa, helping locals to adopt and implement some of the Toolbox’s effective and ingenious methods.

The Toolbox follows the success of Save the Elephants’ (STE) award-winning beehive fence project developed by Dr Lucy King. It was discovered that elephants are scared of bees and will do all they can to avoid them. This led STE to develop and implement beehive fences that surround farmland and protect crops from raiding elephants. Beehive fences are not just a handy elephant deterrent, but also provide a source of income for the farmer from sales of honey. Taking the idea a step further, Wild Survivors in Tanzania developed the Buzzbox – a solar powered speaker that, when triggered by the movement of a nearby elephant, will play the sound of agitated bees. This causes the elephant to race away in the opposite direction. You can see the Buzzbox in action in Liberia here. Methods like the Buzzbox and beehive fences will hopefully help humans and elephants become good neighbours.

The other way to help protect elephant lives and communities’ livelihoods, and encourage coexistence is by collaring and tracking elephants.  Tracking elephant movement helps Save the Elephants identify an elephant’s needs and provides valuable data on elephant behaviour and movement. The evolution of new technology, like tracking apps and GPS collars, alongside new research techniques give STE the unique insight into how elephants thrive in an ever changing and rapidly compromised landscape. Here, you can see pictures of the team recently re-collaring Edison, a bull elephant estimated to be 37 years old. Photos courtesy of Alice Clark, Save the Elephants:

Edison is darted

Edison is darted

Edison the elephant going down

Edison going down

It's a team effort

It’s a team effort

Re-collaring Edison, Save The Elephants

Re-collering Edison

Edison Waking up, Save The Elephants

Edison waking up

Finally, Save the Elephants’ CEO, Frank Pope, recently presented at Wildlife Conservation Network Expo 2023 in San Francisco, USA to explain how STE is helping to protect Africa’s wild elephants through its Elephant Crisis Fund. The fund (established in 2013) provides grants and initiatives to address the urgent crises that elephants face due to poaching, habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, across the world.