Protecting the harvest from elephants

Protecting the harvest from elephants

‘The Mbirikili Project’ – protecting the annual village harvest from marauding Serengeti Elephant. Chagga Mzungu is managing Rotary sponsorship to reduce both famine and elephant poaching.

At the beginning of September 2017 launched an innovative project to protect villagers from the famine caused by marauding Serengeti elephant who destroyed their granary and the annual harvest.

Villager anger caused by this famine has been a major driver for elephant poaching.

For years now Elephant herds crossing the Serengeti Boundary into neighbouring villages have been feeding on crops in the fields, to some extent this was tolerated, but recent droughts have caused difficulty for the villagers particularly as hungry elephant have now started to destroy their granaries in an effort to get to the remaining corn. 

The Mbirikili Village is one of the village collectives that subsist on the boundary of the famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. In early 2016 the village collective agency ‘Tumaini Jema’ contacted Chagga Mzungu and asked for help.

Chagga Mzungu combines humanitarian support with conservation through a process of community development, where the beneficiaries own both the problem and the solution. It endeavours to care for remote Tanzanian villagers and in turn ask the villagers to care for the wild life they live with.

In discussion with Tumaini Jema a strong need was identified in protecting the Mbirikili villagers from a unique famine caused by marauding elephant.

The anger for elephant caused by this famine was enabling corrupt influences have an easier pathway to recruit local poachers for the illicit ivory trade.

Chagga Mzungu seeks to have villagers harness the constructive benefits of wild life at their back door.

With the support of this container villagers will be able to control their harvest while also setting aside crop areas for easier elephant access, and instead of shooting the elephant they can drive them back into the Serengeti and into the care of the Serengeti Rangers who have no authority on the village farms.

With the sponsorship of the Rotary Club Darwin North we have now purchased and put in place a steel shipping container in the Mbirikili Village which borders the Serengeti. This container will act as a granary protecting the annual harvest. Previous granaries, built out of cement block and mud brick, have been demolished at night by the strength of the elephant herds. The villagers then awake to find their annual harvest consumed or destroyed. This has now happened for the past four years as the East African drought has intensified and impacted on both people and wild life.

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