Mbulia Elephant Fence to Secure Dry Season Habitat in the TCA

Human-wildlife conflict is a complex issue that is rarely easy to solve. This is particularly true for Mbulia in Taita-Taveta County, Tsavo Kenya. Being, many incidents of human-elephant conflict are recorded every year, undermining food security and destroying the lives of many people as well as injuring and killing wildlife. Small subsistence farmers, who are vulnerable to elephant raids destroying crops and property, effectively devastating their livelihoods, inhabit the surrounding area.

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Mbulia is unique, being critical dry season elephant habitat in the Tsavo ecosystem and owned by a collection of more than 3,000 individuals, combined into a large ranch that can economically benefit from wildlife through tourism. However the risks from elephants to humans and humans poaching wildlife still remained. Amara and Mbulia’s approach was to fence the Conservancy, minimizing contact and consequent conflicts.

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Through the generosity of individual donors and a successful grant application from US Fish and Wildlife African Elephant Conservation Fund, Amara was able to complete the 22.5 kms of elephant proof electric fence joining Mbulia to Tsavo West national park.

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We are happy to report that the fence was completed in April 2016 and has already been successful reducing wildlife conflict between Tsavo West’s fauna and the neighboring communities, securing the communities livelihoods, allowing the next crop to ripen without getting destroyed by the park’s wildlife.

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The problems in the greater Tsavo Conservation Area are compounded by a wide range of issues from poor land use planning, a history of poaching and current political challenges. Resolving these conflicts will take the combined efforts of the Amara team and the communities living in Tsavo with support of people dedicated to save Africa’s wildlife. Through our mutual will and commitment to our natural heritage, we are confident that Amara is on the right track paving the way to long-term solutions for conservation.

 

Be the change – By Towett

Elephants are a keystone species. They create and maintain the ecosystems in which they live and make it possible for a myriad of plant and other animal species to live in those environments as well. The loss of elephants gravely affects many species that depend on elephant-maintained ecosystems and causes major habitat chaos and a weakening to the structure and diversity of nature itself. To lose the elephant is to lose an environmental caretaker and an animal from which we have much to learn.

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Elephants are running out of space with time. Before we know it they will be gone — unless we collectively stop the senseless poaching and consumer demand for ivory, and allocate protected natural habitat in countries where elephants and other wildlife can thrive now, and in the future.

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What are you doing to STOP the killing and mistreatment of elephants?

You can make life better for abused individuals by boycotting circuses with elephants, and by appealing to others to do the same. Another way to help elephants is to give your support to those institutions, organizations, projects and individuals who work to better understand, conserve and protect elephants, whether this be through applied conservation, education or advocacy. Happy #WorldElephantday and elephants are #WorthMoreAlive.

The gardener – Elephant.

Elephants play an important role in maintaining biodiversity. They can be best described as the “Architects of the savannah”and natures constant gardeners, moving great distances foraging which open up dense bush land creating grasslands for grazers. Their knocking over of trees creates microhabitats for smaller creatures like reptiles and insects, which in turn provides food for birds. Defecating up to 17 piles of poo per day provides food for beetles, other insects and birds, as well as providing potting soil for the many seeds that have passed through their system to germinate. Indeed, a myriad of forest species are totally dependent on elephants for their survival.

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Where elephants go, other species follow. Lose the elephants and we will lose so much more. As human settlement expands, we must set aside corridors between protected habitats to ensure the continued movement of elephants and other wildlife. Elephants will do much of the biodiversity work for us if we allow them to. But we must stop the slaughter of elephants, and provide the space and protect their habitats for them to get on with their good work.

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John visits Amara.

This month, Amara welcomed John Carver to Kenya, visiting us in the field for the first time, he had an eventful and interesting trip around Kenya. John is an entrepreneur who has been involved in many successful for-profit and non-profit companies, and is on the Board of Directors of Amara USA. He has been a great supporter of our work.

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Lori and John

It was great for John to see first hand the beneficial work Amara does in the field. To sit, see a room full of hundreds of children go from no hands raised when asked the question “do we benefit from elephants”, to a room full of students who understand the benefits of wildlife, simply through providing information, is very moving. We are honored to be a part of something so important to the communities in Tsavo.

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An interactive session with the students

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John visiting orphan elephants

Through education and information sharing, Amara is helping humans and elephants coexist and support each other, ultimately protecting their beautiful land. We strive to make communities understand the crucial role these species play in one of nature’s most important ecosystems; once moderate changes in lifestyles can have a powerful impact on the viability of the creatures they share their environment with. As communities become aware of how organized thugs are wrecking their very own future, as well as that of their children, the trend is reversed and the sustainable outcome is possible and reached.

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John,Lori and Dan in Maasai Mara-Kenya