Kanungu farmers living in fear of elephants

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Kanungu — Farmers in Kanungu District are living in fear following the invasion of wild animals from Queen Elizabeth National Park which are destroying food and cash crops.

Kihihi Sub-county Chairman Nelson Natukunda last week said a number of elephant invasions have been witnessed between November and December. "They target maize, cassava, millet, rice and potatoes," Mr Natukunda said.

"At night we light fires around homes and gardens and hit drums and jerrycans to chase the animals. But we have no option when the animals come during the day," said Tumwikirize. He said the park rangers often appear after destruction has been done.

Conservation Area Manager for UWA, Nelson Guma, on Monday said controlling animals from invading farmers is still a challenge. "You know managing wild animals is not easy. It is still a management challenge," Mr Guma said, adding that they are digging trenches along the hot spots and monitoring all crossing points to stop the elephants from crossing.

(Extract from article by Perez Rumanzi, The Monitor, 14th December 2011)

Comment from UCF

UCF works closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to tackle crop raiding and build the capacity of the park rangers.

Uganda Conservation Foundation in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority has already intervened in Kihihi Sub County. We have dug a trench and facilitated building of the fence to stop elephants from moving out of the park into community land. This coupled with rapid responses to elephant raids and monitoring of elephant movement by UWA should minimize the impacts of the elephants. Surprisingly, the problem continues! We are then left with a question, where is the problem?

We now need a more holistic approach to integrating all possible solutions in the area. Much as we have dug trenches, some areas are not accessible; we can not dig trenches in the wetland nor put up fencing! We are currently trying out the use of bees as a deterrent to elephants, this could help stop elephants from entering community land; use of chilli may be a future intervention.

The role of the community; the community needs to be involved in maintenance of the trenches and availing support to UWA for closer monitoring of animal movements and quicker response to avoid elephants from crossing. The community is also encouraged to grow crops that are not palatable to elephants and if possible minimize cultivation on the park boundaries.

From the report above you can see that more work is needed to help these communities and thus ensure that people and elephants can co-exist.  We need your support - PLEASE DONATE ONLINE NOW.

Elephants' fear of bees proves a green winner

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A British scientist has won a coveted environment research prize for showing how bees can be used to reduce conflict between people and elephants.

Lucy King's work proved that beehive 'fences' can keep elephants out of African farmers fields' or compounds. Dr King received the Unep /CMS Thesis prize at the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) meeting in Norway.

Working in Kenya, she and her team showed that more than 90% of elephants will flee when they hear the sounds of buzzing bees. Subsequently, they also found that elephants produce a special rumble to warn their fellows of the danger. They used the findings to construct barriers where beehives are woven into a fence, keeping the elephants away from places where people live and grow food. A two year pilot project involving 34 farms showed that elephants trying to go through the fences would shake them, disturbing the bees. Later the fences were adopted by farming communities in 3 Kenyan districts - who also made increasing amounts of money from selling honey.

"Dr Lucy King has desined a constructive solution that considers the needs of migratory animals but also the economic benefits to the local communities linked to species conservation," said CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.

As Africa's population grows, competition for space between people and elephants is becoming more serious, and there are fatalities on both sides. 

Extract from article by Richard Black, Environment Correspondent, BBC News 23rd November 2011 - for full article click here


UCF has been assisting communities in trialling the use of bees as a deterrent measure for elephants on the border with the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area for several months. A number of local people were trained in bee keeping and helped with equipment by UCF in order to test whether the beehives would act as a deterrent to elephants and also as a means to generate more income for the community. The beehives were successfully populated by local bees and we hope to report on the results of the trial in due course.

If you would like to help increase the use of beehives in this way please donate towards our work by clicking the 'Virgin Money Giving donation button'.

News snippets

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News snippets: Lonely Planet chooses Uganda as top country tourist attraction for 2012; Rothschild's Giraffe - an endangered species; Early Ape skull found in Karamoja region, Uganda

Lonely Planet chooses Uganda as top country tourist attraction for 2012

Lonely Planet's new book 'Best in Travel 2012' has named Uganda as the top country tourist attraction for 2012. Quite an accolade from the largest travel guide book publisher in the world!

Why not come and see for yourself what makes Uganda - its people, scenery and wildlife - so special to us, and so worth helping?

(Metro, 28.10.2011)

Rothschild's Giraffe - an endangered species

The Rothchild's Giraffe has IUCN  Endangered Species status and it is estimated that only 670 individuals remain in the wild. The only key populations remaining in the natural range are in Uganda's Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks with other groups found in Kenya's national parks and nature reserves outside their natural range. Populations in Uganda have dropped from an estimated 2500 in the 1960s to fewer than 250. The loss of suitable habitat through farming development is blamed for much of the decline.

(Extract from Africa Geographic, October 2011)

It is hoped that the expansion of UCF's work into the Murchison Falls National Park will improve security in the area and help the growth in numbers.

Early Ape

A 20 million-year-old ape skull found in the remote north-eastern Karamoja region of Uganda could shed light on East Africa's evolutionary history. 'This is the first time that the complete skull of an ape of this age has been found' said Martin Pickford, a palaeontologist at the College de France in Paris. 'It is a highly important fossil and will put Uganda on the map in terms of the scientific world'.

(Extract from Discovery News, Africa Geographic October 2011)

Uganda Matters Newsletter

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Hot off the press! Uganda Matters newsletter is free to download - (click on the Uganda Matters hippo image to the right)

The latest edition of Uganda Matters is out! Written, produced and printed in Uganda we are delighted to share updates and photos from our live projects showing what our limited but precious resources, from our generous supporters like you are helping us to achieve for wildlife and conservation in Uganda's Protected Areas.

Thank you everyone!

London Animal Charities Fair

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Trustees Jacquie Teera (pictured)  and Carolyn de la Plain, with the help of volunteer Alison Cooper, ran a stall selling UCF merchandise,  including the BeadforLife recycled paper jewellery made by women in Uganda, at the London Animal Charities Fair in the Camden Centre on Sunday 6 November 2011 raising over £340 to help support our team in Uganda.

Well done ladies!