In a developing world, African elephants are being squeezed into conflict while traveling through their traditional rangelands, which are increasingly becoming cultivated areas. Elephants need to consume at least 600 pounds of food per day. In their continuous search for food, scouting elephants find a field and often lead their herd of up to 20 to wipe out all of the crops in less than a day.
Farmers and community members who are not interested in poaching ivory may kill or injure African elephants that eat or threaten their crops. As a result of its work since 2011, MEP is showing a trend of poaching decreasing and human-elephant conflict deaths increasing in the Mara. Farmers who do not have effective methods to mitigate human-elephant conflict may be sympathetic to poachers living in their communities.
The Human-Elephant Conflict Toolkit or HEC Toolkit is something Mara Elephant Project uses to assist in our continued effort to be the most prepared to handle conflict between humans and elephants in the Mara. We consider these our techniques, methods and tools of the trade.
The HEC Toolkit includes key physical items like flash bangs (firecrackers), spotlights, drones and horns for noise and visual deterrents as well as supplies to assemble chili fences as a smell deterrent.
Our Toolkit also includes the use of a helicopter and vehicles to use as elephant herding tools. The helicopter is property of the Karen Blixen Camp and MEP pays for fuel at cost. It offers the perfect quick-response tool for herding elephants out of conflict situations.
Communication is also a key part of the HEC Toolkit, we have a hotline number that anyone in the local community can call and have direct access to a MEP ranger or have their questions answered.
All of these items together create a toolkit that assures MEP is the first to respond and no harm is done to elephants or humans.