Friday, December 5, 2008

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cool? Not if you're an Elephant!

Imagine you are an elephant in Kenya. You wake up in the morning and smell sweet corn in the distance. Being the curious pachyderm that you are, you decide to head over to a giant corn planting--taking no heed of the fence since, after all, you ARE an elephant. You were just following your nose and it doesn’t occur to you that these crops might be the livelihood of your human neighbors.

However, as land in Kenya becomes scarcer, farmland increasingly encroaches on elephant habitats. This is dangerous for elephants that wander into towns in search of water and for habitants who have had homes and livelihoods destroyed by the elephants. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is working with the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to search for solutions to wildlife-human conflict. The solution will focus on maintaining biodiversity and elephant habitat while promoting sustainable and environmental farming practices. These solutions include: planting crops that are repellant to elephants such as chili, building moats around crops and cohabiting with the wildlife while promoting ecotourism.