It all starts by picking the right area where poaching and human wildlife conflict are issues. Then marching for elephants and pangolins can lead to a reduction of both wildlife conservation problems.
Here’s how it works for real.
Moses has been marching for elephants and pangolin every year since 2015. Each time he targets villages surrounding a National Park. Poaching and human wildlife conflicts are huge issues in such areas. Wildlife of all kinds (of most serious concern is the highly endangered pangolin) are poached for bush meat and the wildlife trafficking trade to Asia. Poachers are easily recruited from these villages as earning options are frequently rather limited. Then the human wildlife conflicts, primarily with elephants invading village farms and destroying crops, is an ongoing concern.
Moses has found a way to solve both problems by marching for elephants and pangolin.
After each march, which raises huge awareness, he holds an educational forum. Of course snacks are served which always works to get people in. During this session Moses provides education and an invitation to give up poaching and to take up bee keeping and farming instead.
Out of a gathering of around 500 usually a dozen step forward. From there Moses sets up a meeting to receive their poaching tools (snares and spears) in exchange for beehives and lessons in farming. (One bee hive will produce about three liters of honey every three to four months.)
As I write this, Moses is preparing to meet with another such reformed poacher group. This time around the perimeter of the Queen Elisabeth National Park. We’ve sent funds for 20 beehives to be built. These beehives will be delivered to the newly reformed poachers. The bee hives will not only become a source of income, but will create a bee hive fence or barrier to keep the elephants out of the crops they will be growing.
Elephants don’t’ like bees. Elephants have very sensitive trunks and getting stung by a bee is apparently most painful for this big animal. For this reason setting up bee hives along the boundaries of a reserve where elephants live is most effective.
Where do the bees come from to populate the hives you might ask?
Moses says some swarms are split-offs from others hives that have grown too small. Then there are others bees who find themselves homeless when their tree is cut down or torched by fire. Supposedly it takes very little time for bee hives to be filled with bees.
What starts with marching for elephants and pangolin ends up helping on several fronts:
- Saving wildlife from poachers’ spears and snares;
- Reducing human wildlife conflicts in particular with elephants;
- Providing much needed livelihood alternatives to reform poachers.
What a win-win situation we have here! However, Moses can’t do this without financial help. So if you’ve ever wanted to see your small charitable donation go a long way… this is it.
$25 will build a beehive to save elephants and help stop poaching by providing a livelihood alternative.