A Phased Approach to Increase Human Tolerance in Elephant Corridors to promote ecosystem connectivity

Thorge Heuer
Publié: 08 août 2023
Dernière modification: 11 octobre 2023
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Pathfinding elephants are moving through human-dominated landscapes, often across international boundaries. By doing so, they play a vital role in connecting Protected Areas (PAs) but also encounter Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) that threatens lives and livelihoods. Our solution proposes a long-term strategy to conserve elephant corridors whilst incorporating the socio-economic needs of the people that share the landscape with them. GPS tracking of elephants across two transfrontier conservation areas flags where linking corridors exist and thus where to focus resources. We use innovative cafeteria-style experiments to understand which elephant-unpalatable plants would offer lucrative alternative income streams to farmers living in those HEC hotspots. Lastly, we combine food security and people’s safety by deploying Rapid Response Units and soft barriers to protect subsistence crops. This phased strategy enables the protection of bioregions to achieve biodiversity objectives at landscape scale.


Afrique de l'Est et du Sud
Ampleur de la mise en œuvre
Prairie tempérée, savane, maquis
Terres cultivées
Écosystème agricole
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Écosystémes des prairies
Accès et partage des avantages
Acteurs locaux
Adaptation au changement climatique
Atténuation du changement climatique
Braconnage et la criminalité environnementale
Connaissances traditionnelles
Connectivité / conservation transfrontières
Diversité génétique
Financement durable
Fragmentation et la dégradtion de l'habitat
Gestion des espèces
Gestion des terres
Gestion et Planification des Aires protégées et conservées
Gouvernance des Aires protégées et conservées
L'intégration de la biodiversité
Moyens d'existence durables
Prévention de l'érosion
Santé et bien-être humain
Science et recherche
Services écosystèmiques
Sécurité alimentaire
Dégradation des terres et des forêts
Perte de biodiversité
Perte de l'écosystème
Manque d'accès au financement à long terme
Manque d'autres possibilités de revenu
Extraction de ressources matérielles
Changements dans le contexte socio-culturel
Manque de sécurité alimentaire
Manque d'infrastructures
Manque de capacités techniques
Mauvaise gouvernance et participation
Chômage / pauvreté
Objectifs de développement durable
ODD 1 - Pas de pauvreté
ODD 2 - Faim "zéro"
ODD 3 - Bonne santé et bien-être
ODD 5 - Égalité entre les sexes
ODD 6 - Eau propre et assainissement
ODD 8 - Travail décent er croissance économique
ODD 9 - Industrie, innovation et infrastructure
ODD 10 - Inégalités réduites
ODD 12 - Consommation et production responsables
ODD 13 - Mesures relatives à la lutte contre les changements climatiques
ODD 15 - Vie terrestre
ODD 16 - Paix, justice et institutions efficaces
ODD 17 - Partenariats pour la réalisation des objectifs
Objectifs d’Aichi
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 3: Attraits réformées
Objectif 4: Production et consommation durables
Objectif 5: Perte d'habitat réduite de moitié ou diminuée
Objectif 7: Agriculture, aquaculture et sylviculture durable
Objectif 10: Ecosystèmes vulnérables au changement climatique
Objectif 11: Aires protégées et conservées
Objectif 12: Réduction du risque d'extinction
Objectif 13: Sauvegarde de la diversité génétique
Objectif 14: Services des écosystèmes
Objectif 15: Restauration et la résilience des écosystèmes
Objectif 16: Accès et le partage des avantages tirés des ressources génétiques
Objectif 17: Stratégies de la biodiversité et des plans d'action
Objectif 18: Connaissances traditionnelles
Objectif 19: Partage de l'information et de la connaissance
Objectif 20: Mobiliser toutes les ressources disponibles
Cadre de Sendai
3: Réduire, d’ici à 2030, les pertes économiques directes dues aux catastrophes en proportion du produit intérieur brut (PIB).
6: Améliorer nettement, d’ici à 2030, la coopération internationale avec les pays en développement en leur fournissant un appui approprié et continu afin de compléter l’action qu’ils mènent à l’échelle nationale pour mettre en œuvre le présent Cadre.


Boane, Maputo Province, Mozambique


Human-Elephant Conflict is threatening the immediate physical safety of both elephants and humans, with fatalities occurring on either side. In addition, crop-raiding threatens livelihoods of subsistence farming communities living along wildlife corridors. If left unaddressed, important corridors linking fragmentised Protected Areas will be closed off, as elephants will avoid using corridors based on learnt fear or physical barriers (electric fences). This will result in declining elephant populations and have disastrous effects on all wildlife migrations between increasingly isolated protected areas. The IUCN’s Guidelines outline the importance of connected ecosystems to enable essential ecological functions such as migration, hydrology, nutrient cycling, pollination, seed dispersal, food security, climate resilience and disease resistance. The subsequent biodiversity loss would negate all economic advancements made in rural communities and accelerate negative impacts from climate change.


Rural communities living within and along wildlife corridors

Elephant & wildlife populations using wildlife corridors to migrate between Protected Areas

Protected Areas relying on ecosystem and economical (tourism) services from migrating wildlife

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

Protecting African elephants and their habitat in bioregions requires a multidimensional and integrated approach of community engagement, knowledge creation and practical conservation action. This includes mapping elephant movements outside of protected areas to understand landscape connectivity, concentration of mitigation efforts in HEC hotspots, and experiments to evaluate alternative crops for communities affected by HEC.

A combination of hard barriers (electric fences) around small subsistence crop fields that do not prohibit the movement of elephants, with income-generating soft barriers (unpalatable crops with a market value, pollinated by beehive fences), can help mitigate conflicts over the long term; whilst a reactive Rapid Response Unit can ensure immediate safety in high-conflict areas. In crop-raiding hotspots identified through tracking data and reported information via RRUs, farmers can be encouraged to only farm with viable unpalatable crops with high market values and yields. Combining income-generating soft barriers, such as planting high-value crops with a mutually reinforcing relationship of pollination for beehive fences, promotes biodiversity outcomes and supports rural economies in and around wildlife corridor regions.


Short term: Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) mitigation strategies resulting in reduced HEC:

  • Empowering community members to confidently and safely react to crop-raiding incidents
  • Decreased hostility amongst communities towards elephants, reducing the number of elephants “destroyed” by authorities or other
  • Decreased human and elephant fatalities from HEC
  • Safeguarding of livelihoods & food-security


Long term: increased movement of elephants between Protected Areas (PAs), promoting ecosystem connectivity:

  • Facilitating transfer of genetic traits between isolated PAs
  • Relief of pressure on biodiversity within isolated habitats, allowing seasonal habitat recovery.
  • Identifying suitable wildlife corridors, to be used for land-use planning, decreased deforestation rates, and expansion of PA coverage
  • Improving the socio-economic circumstances of communities living within/near the corridor, by decreasing dependence on dwindling natural resources:
    • Introducing income-generating alternative crops for income diversification
    • Mutually reinforcing alternative income streams from honey production and alternative crop cultivation
    • Work towards tourism strategies aimed at increasing the financial security in favour of conservation efforts
    • Promote the upskilling women into social role models
    • Community-building: watchtowers as centres for knowledge transfer of mitigation methods & alternative farming and income generation


Mozambique Wildlife Alliance

Mr. Mkwakwa represents the chief of a village situated in the Namaacha valley in southern Mozambique. He has been desperate to protect his community from repetitive elephant crop raiding, especially during the dry season. He has tried to install some solar lights on high poles in the hope that this will keep the elephants at bay. He has also tired to build natural green walls with Comniphora species on the border of the crops. None of his efforts have succeeded to the degree that he wanted to offer his community protection. As part of the Elephants Alive’ mitigation strategy we stayed in a nearby village to facilitate a training workshop on various soft barrier methods to protect crops. Representatives from South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya all came to share their expertise in terms of the erection of beehive fences, metal strip fences, chilli rag fences and the manufacturing of smelly elephant repellent and chilli bricks. The Chief and his wife were incredibly grateful that so many countries have pitched in to help try to solve their problems. Both Mr. Mkwakwa and his wife worked relentlessly with the teams to show both the team and his community how appreciative they all were of the assistance and guidance. He explained to us how hard things have been for them and how the elephants seem to always know when it is the right time to crop raid, just before they are ready to harvest. We explained to them how the honey will help pollinate their crops and that they can also get an additional income from the honey when it is ready for harvesting during the summer months. We mentioned that the bees function as security agents to his fields as elephants are scared of bees. We also mentioned that bees are in need of enough water. The Chief immediately set out to build a wonderful bee watering station. We explained that Elephants Alive would come back regularly to also train the community on growing plants that elephants avoid as yet another barrier to protect crops. Mr. Mkwakwa and his wife were beaming with gratitude and rushed to give us parting gifts of all that they had, shweshwe cloths and cassava roots. New friendships were formed along the journey to protect people’s safety and assets and the elephants were strangely at the centre of these bridges that were being formed between communities and people working across borders and following in the footsteps of elephants.

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Autres contributeurs

Elephants Alive
Mozambique Wildlife Alliance