Toute l'actu sur la protection de l'environnement

AFRICA: new repellents to limit human-elephant conflicts

The Wild Africa Fund, a wildlife protection organisation based in South Africa, is experimenting with a number of repellents to protect elephants from conflict with humans. In Africa, human-wildlife conflicts are one of the causes of the disappearance of African elephants. The species now numbers around 415,000, compared with 3 to 5 million at the beginning of the 20th century.
The conservation of African elephants means keeping them in parks and nature reserves. This is one of the recommendations made to African governments on 12 August 2023 by the Wild Africa Fund, to mark World Elephant Day. The wildlife protection organisation, based in South Africa with offices in Nigeria and Rwanda, presented the various techniques it uses to limit elephant movements in protected areas.
In Zimbabwe, the Wild Africa Fund has teamed up with the Tikobane Trust (a community organisation seeking to empower and educate communities living in and around Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest) to use an elephant repellent. It’s a concoction of chilli, garlic and rotten eggs. A non-toxic product, according to these ecologists.
« In Nigeria, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) uses satellite collars to improve monitoring of elephant movements, enabling a quicker response when they venture outside the reserve, » says Festus Iyorah, Nigeria’s representative to the Wild Africa Fund. These repellents aim to reduce incidents of human-elephant conflict (HEC), including the use of elephant guards, the construction of watchtowers and the establishment of a beehive and scent fences for the elephants.
Pachyderms on the brink of extinction
African elephant species are now « Endangered » and « Critically Endangered », according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The latest assessments show a significant decline in the number of African elephants across the continent. The number of African forest elephants has fallen by more than 86% over a period of 31 years, while the population of African savannah elephants has declined by at least 60% over the last 50 years, according to the assessments.
Nigeria is one of the countries where the species is most persecuted. The Wild Africa Fund states that over the past 30 years, the elephant population in the West African country has declined considerably, from an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 individuals two decades ago to a current estimate of 300 to 400.
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