Location > Botswana – Border areas of the Makgadikgadi national park –Village of Khumaga
Project duration > 3 years.
Start date > January 2016.
Planned completion date > December 2018
The Makgadikgadi is one of Botswana’s national reserves and hosts a particularly abundant range of wildlife. The west of the park, through which the Boteti River runs, has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot. This region is the site of significant animal migrations. The number of elephants there is constantly growing, increasing from 450 individuals in 2003 to 2,700 in 2013.
Approximately 20,000 people live around this park, and over 70% of this population derives its income from agriculture. Wildlife and farming activities share the same space and are concentrated along the river, which becomes the interface between the wildlife in the east and the people in the west. This region is the part of Botswana most affected by conflicts between humans and wildlife, and elephants in particular. In one year (December 2013 – December 2014) almost 100 incidents were recorded for the village of Khumaga alone, resulting in considerable financial losses for the farmers.
33% of the region’s population live in poverty. The increasing numbers of these elephants are seen as a pest by these populations and constitute a significant source of danger when travelling between homes and fields. This feeling of danger and difficult growing conditions (the need for a substantial supply of water, seasons of high intensity rainfall varying considerably, very poor soil and unsuitable agricultural practices) increase the vulnerability of the communities.
In this context, the project aims to: identify the causes of human-elephant conflicts and introduce the measures necessary to reduce them, working closely with local communities.
- Raise awareness of local populations and young people on wildlife and conservation methods.
- Introduce long-term crop protection measures and improve agricultural practices to reduce the feeling of vulnerability among the people.
- Increase the viability and production of crops to reduce the feeling of vulnerability among local communities.
Elephants for Africa is an NGO created in 2007, although the work of the scientists who founded this organisation began in 2002 in Botswana. After 7 years working in the Okavango Delta, the Elephants For Africa teams have settled in the Makgadikgadi national park, a hotspot for human-elephant conflicts. Originally a scientific project, it now develops field applications that are the result of its research activities.