As drought continues to plague Kenya, human wildlife conflict has increased as animals seek water. The drought is so bad that Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, declared a national disaster in September of 2021. Elephants are one of the many animals affected by the drought. In November of 2021, a herd of 61 elephants began moving in on local villages in West Laikipia, Kenya, knocking down fencing and pillaging the crops of local farmers. The farmers were frightened and enraged and wanted to kill the elephants in response. Mitigating human elephant conflicts such as this one can be tricky. These conflicts often require innovative thinking to ensure the best possible results for both the humans and the animals. “Elephant management is inherently challenging. This is especially true in increasingly human dominated landscapes such as north central Kenya. In order to create some level of coexistence between people and elephants, conservationists have to rely on all the possible tools out there,” stated Maurice Schutgens, Conservation Program Manager, Space for Giants (SFG).
SFG, a wildlife protection group in Africa, developed the idea to move elephants out of the villages using helicopters. The goal being to herd the elephants, similar to farm animals, using the wind and sound from the helicopters. This allows them to move the elephants without having to physically transport them.
SFG approached Elephant Cooperation (EC) for help. EC is a San Clemente-based 501(c)3, that works with partners on the ground in Africa to help assist in elephant conservation projects and mitigation of human elephant conflict. EC granted SFG $10,000, covering the cost of operating two helicopters for 5 hours to move this large herd out of the village. The helicopters focus was herding the elephants that had been invading the crops to the other side of the fences and reuniting them with their herd. Once with their herd, the helicopters continued to move the herd out and away from the village. Thanks to SFG and EC, these communities were able to repair the damage done by these elephants.
About Elephant Cooperation
Elephant Cooperation’s mission is “saving the African elephant before it is too late.” Elephant Cooperation is a unique 501(c)3 focused on finding and funding the most effective ways to help elephants and the communities living near them. Our motto is “No Poverty, No Poaching.” Founded in 2016 by Scott Struthers, co-founder of Sonance and son of a biologist. For more information please visit: https://www.elephantcooperation.com
About Space for Giants
Space for Giants is a group dedication to protecting Africa’s remaining natural ecosystems and the large wild animals they contain, while bringing major social and economic value to local communities and national governments. We bring the discipline of good management, conservation investment, and adaptive innovation to these spaces as a way of not only halting their degradation but restoring and expanding landscapes through a combination of public and private management strategies. Driven by local context, we are able to draw on the expertise of our programmer teams in key areas such as the following: Conservation Landscapes, Conservation Investment, Wildlife Justice, Conservation Science, Human-wildlife Coexistence, Frontline protection, and Conservation Journalism. For more information please visit: https://spaceforgiantstest.squarespace.com