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.

 

Latest Update

Over the past year great strides have been made in the Kunene Region of Namibia to help create harmonious living conditions between the 674 Ongongo conservancy members – living within the Ombonde People’s Park – and neighbouring wildlife.

The problem

Drought remains the main environmental problem experienced by the Ongongo conservancy. It impacts basic survival and living standards, creates social strains such as unemployment and hunger and increases human-wildlife conflict scenarios. Many predators have moved closer to the homesteads because they are struggling to source water and food in their own habitats and, similarly, some farmers are encroaching on core wildlife zones in search of better grazing opportunities for their livestock.

 

 

The easy to assemble and maintain fence was installed by the 20-strong team, overseen by the IRDNC Human Wildlife Support team.

Designed to deter the elephants, the fence comprises 3 live strands and 2 earth wires.  The energizer is a powerful unit with 8 joules stored energy and comes with a solar PV panel and cover and operates independently of any grid.

The solution

This particular project focused on assisting the community, especially the women, by erecting an electric fence around the community garden to deter elephants – and other animals – from ruining their crops.

 

 

Transferring of skills

The community were educated about the hazards of the ‘live’ fence and how to avoid contact with electricity. Two community members have been trained to monitor and guard the fence while another two are now competent to offer technical support and fence maintenance.

Next steps

Although this practical intervention 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:

  • Identifying community concerns around the encroaching elephant population to help formulate effective actions that will allow a 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 the elephant populations and their movements
  • Gathering data around elephant conflict to determine 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 to enable them to find employment within the wildlife tourism industry.

Despite the impact on supply chains due to Covid-19 restrictions and subsequent lockdowns, the necessary materials were procured and 20 residents (15 men and 5 women) were nominated to help with the construction, this included:

  • Sourcing fencing poles
  • Collecting and dressing the poles
  • Digging holes and cement corner posts (5), gate posts (1) and stays (12)
  • Cleaning of the fence line
  • Stringing and fastening wires
  • Closing the fence for small stock

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

Beekeeping / Adopt a Hive

Beekeeping / Adopt a Hive

Bees are tiny little miracles of nature – they not only pollinate our flowers but are largely responsible for our crops and food. It is estimated that a third of the food we consume relies predominantly on pollination by bees …

But these little heroes are under threat.

Across the world there has been a growing concern about the decline in the bee population, mainly due to intensive farming, loss of habitat, improper use of pesticides and climate change.

Across the world there has been a growing concern about the decline in the bee population, mainly due to intensive farming, loss of habitat, improper use of pesticides and climate change.

The CCFA team has been hard at work to help prevent the decline in the bee population. In 2019, we relocated 120 new beehives onto three Mantis properties in the Eastern Cape: Hopewell Conservation Estate, Founders’ Lodge and Intle Boutique Hotel. With an average of 50 000 to 75 000 bees per hive, this has created a habitat for around 9 million bees. The project has also created much needed skills development and employment, plus the honey is sold at Mantis properties and Spar retail outlets in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).

In partnership with Honeybee Heroes, CCFA is helping to conserve South Africa’s unique Capensis honeybee species while educating South Africans about the importance of buying local, cruelty-free produce. The Adopt-a-Hive’ project offers all guests at Mantis lodges and resorts worldwide the opportunity to directly help honeybees without the challenges that come with operating their own beehives.

In celebration of World Bee Day, CCFA is extending its bee project to the Western Cape by installing 70 adoptable beehives at two sites: on Willowdale Farm in Stanford (the home of the Honeybee Heroes), and at Hazendal, a Mantis property located in Stellenbosch.

 

For an investment of £100 (R2 000)
you can adopt a honeybee hive and,
in return, besides being a bee hero, you receive:

A personalised plaque on
your beehive (this can either be for yourself, a partner, business or a gift for someone special)

Hive progress updates

Contribute towards the long term goal of sustainability of the bee population and community development, through the creation of micro-apiaries
An official adoption certificate
A Beekeeping Experience
(*T&Cs apply)

Click below to Adopt a Hive

Future project goals

include setting up 1 000 micro-apiaries all over South Africa, donating hives, bee-suits and basic tools to rural South Africans in need, in order to empower them to start up their own businesses.

Once installed, the hives and bees will belong to the community with the honey produced sold back to Honeybee Heroes and CCFA, then through Mantis properties and local businesses. This will provide additional jobs and income for the local community.

  • Creating a fully-equipped education centre at Mantis’ Founders Lodge, where guests can participate in a hands-on beekeeping experience with professional beekeepers
  • Offering an eco-tourism experience in the form of a 3-hour interactive beekeeping experience at Willowdale Farm
  • Placing mini beehives at reservations desks and in guest’s rooms, to showcase the complex beehive colony, along with a QR code for additional information about the Adopt-A-Hive project
  • Introducing ‘honey-infused’ menu items, using raw honey sourced from the hives
  • An installation of large-scale bee related artworks
Help Protect Our Honeybees,
They Play A Critical Role In Our Ecosystem.
If Our Bees Die, So Could We … No Bees, No Food.
It Is That Simple!

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

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.

 

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

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.

Latest Update

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.

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals:

CONSERVATION THROUGH PUBLIC HEALTH (CTPH)

CONSERVATION THROUGH PUBLIC HEALTH (CTPH)

CONSERVATION THROUGH PUBLIC HEALTH (CTPH)

The CTPH project takes a unique approach to gorilla conservation in Uganda by focusing not only on gorilla health but also that of humans and livestock; people and livestock living in close proximity to each other pose a high risk of disease transmission.  This project has overseen the development of a permanent Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Center. Current funding from the CCFA will enable the CTPH project to further expand and strengthen it’s gorilla health monitoring work.

Latest Updates

The CTPH Community Health program was significantly scaled up and strengthened, having proven the concept through an earlier pilot phase. An additional 239 Village Health and Conservation Team volunteers (VHCTs) were added to the existing 31 VHCTs in 6 Parishes around Bwindi.
These newly initiated VHCTs were trained on key health and conservation issues to support their community outreach activities and household visits around Bwindi. Priority issues include: prevention of transmissible disease (including, importantly, cross-species transmission); hygiene and sanitation; proper waste disposal; family planning (including the distribution of appropriate family planning methods such as injectable contraceptives which have been very well received); energy saving stoves and tree planting.
VHCTs also play a very important role in referring community members with health concerns for further medical assistance. All 270 VHCTs were also trained on the modalities for revenue sharing from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). UWA allocates 20% revenue of park entrance collections and $10 raised from the sale of each gorilla tracking permit to communities living on the outskirts of the gorilla habitats, helping to distribute benefits more evenly and build respect and understanding for gorillas amongst the community members best placed to impact either positively or negatively on their survival.

The work of VHCTs in communities around Bwindi has contributed to an increased uptake of voluntary family planning amongst women in the Bwindi communities from 22% in 2007 to 67% in 2017, considerably overtaking the national average which increased from 24% to 48% in the same ten-year period.
Under the Gorilla Health monitoring component of CTPH’s work, funding has enabled continued collection of wildlife, livestock and human faecal samples for zoonotic diseases analysis at the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Center. Community volunteers- aptly named ‘Gorilla Guardians’- and park rangers are trained in non-invasive collection of faecal samples from Gorilla nests as well as in clinical observation of wild gorillas to identify any health concerns. Gorilla Guardians are also trained in strategies to safely herd gorillas which have strayed out of the park boundaries back to safety, thereby avoiding potential human-gorilla conflict. In 2018, 114 out of 282 potential human wildlife conflicts were attended to – and prevented – by Gorilla Guardians.

2020 update

CTPH works to prevent human and wildlife interface disease transmission, therefore the team has turned its focus towards the prevention of COVID-19 transmission between humans and gorillas. Research on whether gorillas are susceptible to the virus is inconclusive. However, due to the fact that gorillas and humans have a 98% DNA match, the CTPH team has chosen to remain cautious in their interactions with the gorillas during the pandemic.

CTPH is urgently seeking funding in this time of crisis to support the Uganda Wildlife Authority in the following ways:

  1. Training of park staff to manage tourists and gorillas during the Coronavirus and other similar respiratory disease outbreaks. This includes ensuring the seven metre viewing distance is enforced; mandatory hand washing prior to trekking; disinfection of visitors prior to ape viewing; and masking during the viewing of great apes. The staff will also be trained to use infrared thermometers, for early detection of any illness.
  2. Training of park staff and Gorilla Guardians (who safely herd gorillas back to the park when they forage from community land) on the monitoring of gorilla health and signs to watch out for which could signify COVID-19 infection in Mountain Gorillas.
  3. Training of Village Health and Conservation Teams (who reach every home in their village with critical health, hygiene and conservation information), to help communities take measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in villages where gorillas forage on community land.
  4. Distribution of posters to display in key places around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to remind people of the guidelines on how communities can prevent themselves and gorillas from contracting COVID-19 (working closely with the Ministry of Health).

Nearly all the countries in the world have promised to improve the planet and the lives of its citizens by 2030.

They’ve committed themselves to 17 life-changing goals, outlined by the UN in 2015. These Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), include ending extreme poverty, giving people better healthcare, and achieving equality for women.  The aim is for all countries to work together to ensure no one is left behind.

This project is aligned with the following goals: