Friday, July 1, 2011

Village Elephant Management

Elephant keeping in a traditional farming community can be difficult, because elephants can wonder into farms in search of food. This can lead to major human-elephant conflict because an elephant eating a farmer’s field means a loss of food and income for that farmer. In one night an elephant can destroy an entire season’s work. However, the villagers of Huay Pakoot practice traditional elephant management techniques that help them avoid such unfortunate conflicts.

One example of elephant management is building fences to keep elephants, and livestock as well, out of farmer’s fields.
The villagers have built one such fence in order to allow our herd of elephants to pass from one part of the forest to another. Through the field the farmers have created a corridor for our elephants to pass through with a barbed wire fence on both sides of the path in order to prevent the elephants from eating their corn. For the past two days the elephants have used the corridor when hiking with GVI volunteers, and volunteers have got to experience firsthand village elephant management techniques. It is a great solution to potential conflict during the farming season and benefits both the elephants and the farmers.