Visit from National Geographic film crew encourages Njokomoni Farmers Group to develop wildlife-friendly buffer zone project

In late July/early August, as part of their upcoming documentary on people and elephants, National Geographic visited Mang’ula and Udzungwa Mountains National Park HQ to document our efforts to mitigate human-elephant conflict along the eastern boundary of the park. They filmed in Njokomoni, an area with fertile soils that we identified as a human-elephant conflict hotspot in 2009-2011 during park ecologist Ponjoli Joram’s MSc fieldwork. Crops grown in the area include pumpkins, coconuts, and most garden plants (tomatoes, spinach, etc.), while four other crops, previously grown in Njokomoni, namely maize, rice, eggplants and African eggplants, are now grown elsewhere because of elephants’ and baboons’ preferences for these. Members of the recently formed Njokomoni Farmers Group took part in the filming, demonstrating chili-oil fence repair, beehive fence inspection, and application of elephant dung to crops – three deterrent methods being trialed in Njokomoni. The group hopes to sustain crop protection and conflict mitigation methods with funds generated from honey and agro-tourism. They would also like to build elephant-proof casing for the main water pipe that supplies the village, and a viewing platform for visitors. We thank Katie Carpenter of National Geographic for promoting their efforts and for three indispensable beekeeping suits. We look forward to your film!

 

 

 

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