ELEPHANT CONSERVATION AND HUMAN ELEPHANT CONFLICT MITIGATION PROGRAMME

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION AND HUMAN ELEPHANT CONFLICT MITIGATION PROGRAMME

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION AND HUMAN ELEPHANT CONFLICT MITIGATION PROGRAMME

CCFA is pleased to support an initiative that is creating harmony between communities and wildlife in the Kunene region of Namibia.

Ombonde People’s Park, located in the Kunene region, is home to desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, lion and cheetah – all vulnerable or threatened in Africa.  The Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation’s (IRDNC) Elephant conservation and human elephant mitigation programme, aims to prevent poaching in the area, while enhancing and building on community ownership of wildlife and natural resources. This is an authentic partnership between community conservancies and the government.

Drought is a constant threat that affects basic living standards and survival. It creates social strains such as unemployment, hunger and an increase in human-wildlife conflict scenarios. Many predators have moved closer to the homesteads, preying on livestock and destroying gardens because they are struggling to source water and food in their own habitats. Similarly, some farmers are encroaching on core wildlife zones in search of better grazing opportunities for their livestock.

There are currently 674 conservancy members working towards the common goal to live peacefully alongside wildlife by employing sustainable livelihood practices.

Various meetings held between January 2018 and August 2019, facilitated by the IRDNC team members, focused on plans to introduce a community garden and erect a solar powered electric fence to protect it from elephants and other wildlife.

Funding for the project was approved after we received a project outline and application at the 2018 Conservation Lab. It is a project that is in line with our overarching ethos: Working with local communities to preserve conservation.

Recently CCFA donated U$25 000 toward the cost of erecting an electric fence around the community’s food garden which is about 140 625 m² (14 hectares). In addition to the fence, we have also secured a commitment from the local council to provide water to the conservancy, to ensure the farming project is sustainable and improves the lives of the community.

The electric fence will be comprised of 3 live strands and 2 earth wires. The energiser is a powerful unit, with 8 Joules stored energy – strong enough to deter elephants. It includes a solar PV panel and cover and operates independently of any grid.

The easy to assemble and maintain system, will be installed by the community and overseen by the IRDNC Human Wildlife Support team. The community has been tasked to nominate a ‘tech savvy’ community member to be trained on how to install the fence and operate the ‘fence tester’ apparatus to allow for fuss free maintenance.  There will be community ownership regarding the upkeep of the property.

 

Although this practical intervention – the installation of an electric fence – has addressed one of the major problems faced by the community, ongoing strategic interaction between the IRDNC and surrounding communities will continue in the form of:

  • Continuing to identify community concerns around the encroaching elephant population, in order to formulate effective actions towards a more peaceful co-existence.
  • Creating and maintaining awareness about the negative impact of elephant poaching as well as the economic and environmental benefits of cohabiting peacefully with the elephants
  • Monitoring of elephant populations and their movements
  • Gathering data around elephant conflict and determining the cost of any damage to properties and farming livestock to find creative solutions to mitigate these situations
  • Incentivising communities by adding value through tourism, offering training that will enable them to find jobs in the wildlife tourism industry.

 

Mkasanga Hope Foundation – Mukupa Chongo Zulu

Mkasanga Hope Foundation – Mukupa Chongo Zulu

Mkasanga Hope Foundation– Mukupa Chongo Zulu

 

 Mukupa Chongo Zulu is a 34 year-old ranger from the Mkasanga Village and Chiefdom in Zambia. Previously a teacher, Mukupa has always had a passion for education. He started his own theatre group to create plays around the plight of young girls and a culture where women who are forced to marry at a young age, are denied the privilege of an education.

When the impact of the theatre group diminished due to a shortage of funding, Mukupa opted to qualify as a guide and earn a larger salary to support his passion for educating underprivileged girls.

Today Mukupa is a qualified ranger at the Mantis Collection’s Lion Camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, but all his free time and money are dedicated to his passion; helping the communities adjacent to the park through the Mkasanga Hope Foundation.

In many of these small communities, young girls drop out of school at a young age to get married, while others grow up in households that are unable to afford schooling. In other cases, a lack of classroom infrastructure often leaves children exposed to the elements or unable to attend classes in severe weather.

From the very beginning, Mukupa put the tips he earned through guiding towards educating young girls, rather than taking his earnings home to his own family. This gesture, together with his efforts to constantly find ways to use leftover materials found in the park’s camp to make functional items which can be used in local schools, is a clear display of Makupa’s understanding and perspective of the global benefits of working together to create a better world. 

Mukupa is aware of the lack of perspective in his community when it comes to illegal wildlife capture. He aims to educate people on the benefits of wildlife conservation, not just for the planet but for the economic wealth that can be generated through foereign exchange that wildlife safari offerings attract into the park areas.

The CCFA fully supports Mukupa’s efforts and plans for his community and are currently funding his project to add solar panels to a computer centre that he has recently set up  (as a solution to the current unreliable supply of electricity). Mukupa also uses the computer centre as a space to educate the community (particularly the children) about the importance of wildlife, health issues, education, etc. 

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

JANUARY 2020

Mukupa has reported back that Mara Zulu, a young girl he supports with the help from CCFA, passed her Grade 8 year with impressive results.  Mara will be completing her Grade 9 this year and will be sitting for her exams at the end of the year.

AUGUST 2020

The two young girls supported by CCFA are eagerly waiting for the reopening of schools after Covid 19 pandemic.  Mara Zulu will be writing exams from next month and Kauswe Daka, who is not yet writing exams, will only be returning in the new year as per government regulations. Mukupa Chongo has been mentoring the girls during these trying times, encouraging them to continue studying and supporting them emotionally with regular visits to their homes. 

Carbon Offest Initiative – Beekeeping

Carbon Offest Initiative – Beekeeping

Carbon Offset Initiative – Beekeeping

The CCFA has embarked on a new and exciting project that aims to place beehives on various properties within the Eastern Cape. The organisation has transferred a total of 120 beehives and has commissioned the re-homing of these hives to Menno’s Bee Company. This company has since employed an additional 4 local community members to help with the installation and maintenance of these beehives.

There are approximately 50, 000 – 75, 000 bees per hive, meaning CCFA has created a habitat for an average of 6,000 000 – 9,000 000 bees.  Bees are a cornerstone species to all life on Earth. Thus, the significant decline in honey bee populations is disrupting the natural flow of every ecosystem on our planet.

Cross-pollination helps about a third of the world’s crops as well as the majority of the Earth’s wild plants to thrive. Many interconnected species (including the human race) and processes within ecosystems will collapse if bees and other pollinator species are not conserved.

PROJECT UPDATE – May 2020

During April and May, CCFA introduced a further 10 hives at Mantis Intle Boutique Hotel in the Eastern Cape.  The Eastern Cape has experienced rain during the first quarter of 2020 which has assisted in honey production.  The team have managed to extract  a total of 356 kg of honey at three of the Mantis properties holding the hives.  Our first batches of honey are now being sold at Spar Retail outlets in Port Elizabeth

RWANDA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (RWCA)

RWANDA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (RWCA)

RWANDA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (RWCA)

 

The RWCA drives conservation awareness in communities surrounding key grey crowned crane areas. Founded by Rwandans who come from and understand local communities and their challenges, their mission is to provide sustainable solutions to critical wildlife conservation issues in Rwanda and East Africa.

To date the RWCA, with the support of the CCFA, has been responsible for:

  • Creating environmental youth clubs.
  • Training 9 mentors to guide the youth club members.
  • Planting 5, 525 indigenous trees from 19 different tree species around the Rugezi Marsh.
  • A two-day training workshop with a team of 30 conservation champions who will raise awareness around blue crowned cranes within their respective communities around the country.

 

Future plans for the RWCA include:

  • 6 educational events at schools along with the distribution of the RWCA conservation comic book, which aims to touch the lives of 4, 800 children.
  • Two workshops for local leaders around Rugezi Marsh and Akagera National Park.
  • A third national crane consensus to commence in August 2019.

 

PROJECT UPDATE – JANUARY 2020

RWCA has continued to carry out community education and engagement to conserve Rwanda’s endangered Grey Crowned Cranes. They work towards the long-term goal of ensuring there are no Grey Crowned Cranes in captivity in Rwanda. Below are some recent activities that the project has implemented:

6 comic book events have been held in primary schools, with two taking place near Rugezi marsh- a key habitat for the crane. RWCA distributed 2,717 comic books, reaching 5,784 children. In the events, RWCA team members talk to children about Grey Crowned Cranes and the need to protect them and their habitat. One of the key messages is teaching children that it is not okay to take crane eggs or chicks and that cranes should not be kept in captivity.

RWCA organised two workshops for local leaders and local security around Rugezi Marsh (202 participants) and Akagera National Park (162 participants). The workshops involved different presentations to refresh their knowledge about Grey Crowned Cranes and the importance of protecting the marshland/natural areas and to discuss the different challenges they face and possible community solutions to those problems.

RWCA successfully implemented the third national crane census. They had teams of staff and volunteers visiting the field all over the country to sight cranes as well as an aerial survey taking place over Akagera National Park and Rugezi marsh. The results were highky encouraging with 748 cranes sighted in total, up from 487 and 459 in previous years.

 

NORTHERN RANGELANDS TRUST (NRT)

NORTHERN RANGELANDS TRUST (NRT)

NORTHERN RANGELANDS TRUST (NRT)

There are currently 39 community conservancies covering 42, 000 square kilometres of northern and coastal Kenya, home to 320,000 people belonging to 18 different ethnic groups.  This territory is also home to an equally diverse array of wildlife including elephant, lion, giraffe, oryx, hirola and black rhino. This complex ecosystem offers a hub of potential for the type of change, growth and conservation awareness that the CCFA is proud to be a part of. 

The NRT supports the management of community owned land for the benefit of livelihoods, focusing on sustainable enterprise directly or indirectly related to conservation. Key focus points include good governance, wildlife, enterprise security and peace, rangelands and marine. 

To date 71, 000 people have benefitted from the Conservancy Livelihood Fund.

  • 700 women participated in peace-building training, from which they were historically excluded. This inclusion has highlighted the importance of the role of women in de-escalating conflict and positively influencing their sons and husbands.
  • Last year only 3 elephants were poached in the NRT landscape Centre; the lowest recorded number following a decreasing trend during which a 97% drop in elephants poached for ivory between 2012 and 2018 was noted.
  • More than 420 youths were engaged in conservancy initiative awareness, while over 850 youths were involved in dialogue meetings around key rangeland and peace issues.

Project update – April 2020

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) supported by CCFA celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2019.  NRT started with just nine member conservancies back in 2004, and now enter this new decade 39 members strong.  While the member conservancies are home to many different ethnic groups, landscapes and wildlife, one thing that unites them all is a central mission to act as indigenous institutions – to support the management of community-owned land for the benefit of improving livelihoods.
2019 has been a particularly triumphant year for community-led livelihoods development in conservancies, with the BeadWORKS businesswomen earning a 94% increase in income compared to 2018, over 3,000 students receiving bursaries, and over 740 youth and women accessing vocational training
through their conservancies. NRT made significant investments in tourism infrastructure and the Conservancy Livelihoods Fund to link improved livelihoods to better conservation.
Indeed, indigenous-led endangered species conservation continues to break new ground and gain worldwide recognition. The endangered hirola in Ishaqbini Community Conservancy in Garissa County are thriving under community stewardship, and the first of Reteti’s rescued elephants were returned to the wild (and are now interacting with wild herds). Sightings of Grevy’s zebra and elephant in conservancies are increasing too.  CCFA are happy to see that NRT are moving toward strengthening connectivity across the landscape through community conservancy networks – opening up ancient migration routes for so many species once again.

While 2019 certainly hasn’t come without its challenges – the rain did not come until very late in the year and the majority of conservancies were suffering from a prolonged dry period – NRT continue to work with community conservancies, partners and County Government to build resilience and capability to weather climatic, political, and other storms.