Elephants Without Borders research on adaptable and sustainable mitigation tools (EleSenses) has proven that solar-powered strobe light barriers are successful at protecting farmers’ fields from elephant crop-raiding. HEC is a major conservation challenge. This is certainly the case for Botswana, a country that holds the largest savannah elephant population on the continent (c.125,000) combined with a growing human population and expanding development. Human conflict with elephants can result in loss of crops or gardens, damage to property, and in the worst case, injuries or loss of human and/or elephants’ lives.
EWB’s research on the trials resulted in a paper, Panic at the Disco: solar-powered strobe light barriers reduce field incursion by African elephants Loxodonta Africana in Chobe district, Botswana, now published now in Oryx- The International Journal of Conservation www.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605319001182, which provides new information revealing solar-powered strobe lights are an effective method to stop elephants from entering a farmer’s field. This new “disco effect” technique was more successful than traditional techniques, such as burning chilies, noise from beating pots and pans, and guard dogs barking. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is creating uncertainty on food supplies putting even further pressure on rural subsistence farmers to produce enough food for their families and community. The results from this study provide hope towards solving HEC by conserving elephants and empowering rural communities, assisting them to put food on the table and securing their livelihoods.
Download the Blog “Elephants Don’t Like the Disco” here.
Listen to short 3-minute interview with lead author Dr. Tempe Adams on BBC World Service-Newsday Radio!
Learn more about EleSenses and EWB’s Elephant Repellent Project!