Making the smelly elephant repellent
Human elephant conflict continues to be a significant problem in the communities bordering the Kafue National Park (KNP). Elephants are intelligent species notorious for finding creative ways to find food and often learn to overcome mitigation efforts. This
continued conflict poses a major threat for elephant conservation in KNP, the livelihood of farmers as well as the release of the orphaned elephants.
Straining the ingredients to make the smelly liquid
We aim to ensure that all the hard work and expense that goes into raising the orphans translates into wider conservation efforts, so we are thrilled to partner with WildAid to trial the “smelly” elephant repellent. This is a combination of common ingredients grown across most of Africa, including chili, garlic and ginger, that creates a potent stinky liquid. This liquid can be sprayed directly on crops or put in bottles which are then hung on simple fences.
Heating the ingredients together over a wood fire
WildAid have been collaborating with communities in Uganda – as well as elsewhere, in conjunction with partners - affected by crop raiding to assess the repellent’s effectiveness. Although they have very encouraging findings through surveys (by measuring difference in crop raiding frequency, impact on the farmers livelihoods and community attitudes), it is unknown exactly how the elephants react to the repellent, given that conflict primarily happens unobserved in the dark and in often dangerous situations in remote areas. As part of the collaboration between GRI and WildAid, we aim to shed more light on this by undertaking controlled trials and observing the reactions of our elephants to the smelly repellent.
The Kafue Release Facility team have been trained, via video call from Uganda, to make 200L of repellent.
Check back to find out how we will be using the repellent with the orphans!