Elephants and livestock both need water on a regular basis (photo of Kenya elephant on Flickr by Shawna Nelles).
CNN reports that ‘As the Horn of Africa suffers its worst drought for 60 years, there are reports of growing conflict between people and wildlife over the region’s limited resources.
‘. . . Jan de Leeuw, from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), says during periods of drought people get desperate.
‘”Herders have animals which are thirsty and because these are areas which have very few water points if wells don’t have water they might have to walk 50-100 kilometers to find another,” he said.
‘Leeuw says that Ethiopian herders have told him that during times of drought rules about certain areas being protected for livestock in their opinion can be broken.
‘But it’s not just the livestock that’s using areas it shouldn’t says Leeuw.
‘”Based on aerial surveys in Kenya we see that two thirds of the wildlife wanders out of the protected areas during dry seasons in search of water,” he said.
‘”In areas with crops elephants tend to eat these, which is leading to reactions of people,” he continued. . . .
‘One initiative that’s easing the tension between wildlife and animals is to provide farmers with incentives to protect areas of their land for wildlife.
‘”If you create incentives for people to protect wildlife they become much more positive about it,” Leeuw said.
‘Leeuw says that there are still many farmers in Kenya who aren’t getting these incentives and should be. Herders can earn money managing pieces of land for conservation and find other places to graze their livestock.
‘”While their livestock might not produce milk, they will still get money from tourism and wildlife preservation so it’s giving them stability in their income,” he added. . . .’
Read the whole article at CNN: Elephants and livestock battle for water in East Africa, 9 Sep 2011.