Flatdogs Camp provides equipment to volunteers helping to minimalise human-wildlife-conflict in the South Luangwa.

The development of the Luangwa Valley has seen more farms and infrastructure being built, resulting in an increased level of human-wildlife-conflict. Elephants raid crop-fields and damage property in their forage for food, with tragic outcomes for both the local community and the elephants. To help mitigate these issues, Flatdogs Camp are supporting a group of 20 volunteers from Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), who are using ‘chilli blasters’ to deter elephants away from crop-fields and buildings.

Flatdogs Camp have provided rain boots, rain jackets, overalls and torches, which enables the volunteers to successfully patrol high-risk zones at night. The volunteers monitor these areas and deter elephants from raiding crops by firing small chilli balls at their hinds. On impact these balls burst leaving chilli oil on the elephants skin, causing no harm other than mild discomfort due to the smell. This is enough to deter the elephant, preventing the loss of livelihood for farmers and reducing retaliation from the local community.

So far the chilli patrollers have worked throughout January and February and have protected almost 130 farmers. The combination of several initiatives from CSL including patrolling, chilli blasting, elephant restraining fences, watch towers and the implementation of safe grain stores has meant that crop raiding is relatively low at this time of year. However, as maize is harvested crop raiding is expected to increase, and so all patrollers will still need to remain active to minimalise any issues of human-wildlife-conflict.

Visit CSL’s website to find out more about how they are helping to prevent conflict between elephants and the community.