As with many rural African communities, people living near the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania depend on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods. Farmers living in Ikona Wildlife Management Area, along the western edge of the National Park, face an additional challenge from elephants coming from the unfenced National Park in search of food. Human-elephant conflict (HEC) has risen in Tanzania as the elephant population has begun to recover following an era of intense poaching between 2009 and 2014, and as humans have settled in protected area buffer zones traditionally used as elephant migratory routes. Perennial raids on crop fields and grain stores have made these communities intolerant of elephants and they often view them as problem animals.
ECF funding is also supporting day and night patrols, to scare elephants away from crops using chili firecrackers, flashlights and horns, and training sessions for communities in elephant aware behavior. FZS is also installing four high observation towers, so that farmers can keep a lookout, send out early warning calls, and pre-empt crop raiding incidents.
Dr. Lucy King, Head of the Human-Elephant Coexistence Program at Save the Elephants and the Elephant Crisis Fund, visited this project site in July 2022 and witnessed the positive impact that these stores, and the other HEC mitigation activities, are having on food security.