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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.
tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.