Monday, January 04, 2010

The jumbos and the chilli pepper

Farmers in the Okavango, Chobe and central Botswana have discovered an ingenious solution to escalating human/elephant conflict in Botswana, the use of chilli powder to get rid of problematic elephants out of their crop fields. Farmers in these areas are given chilli pepper seeds to plant and upon harvest the chilli pepper fruits are air dried and ground to provide powder for imminent action against crop raiding elephants. The use of chilli pepper as a repellent and a means to reduce the increasingly high human/elephant conflict in Botswana started in 2005 following visits to community based projects in Zambia. This practice received remarkable approval from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism who subsequently sponsored the fist training of local farmers in 2005 in Gumare. Since elephants are very sensitive to smells their highly sensitive olfactory receptors are greatly irritated by the chilli pepper.

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