Conservation Alliance has taken another step by introducing the Human Elephant Co-existence Project within the Kakum Conservation Area in the Central Region of Ghana.
This is part of efforts to help address challenges hampering the cocoa and forestry sectors in the country.
The project was launched in Assin Aworoso with funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) under the 2022 autumn grant program.
The project will be implemented within the Kakum Conservation area in the Central Region of Ghana for the next 18 months.
The project under the theme “Strengthening Human-Elephant Co-existence” seeks to promote elephant conservation and enhance peaceful co-existence between elephants and humans in the Kakum Conservation Area.
Field Coordinator for Conservation Alliance, Ebenezer Darko said the objective of the project is to help enhance the capacities of farmers and local communities to adopt effective anti-crop raiding techniques which will deter elephants from straying into their farmlands and communities.
He explained that in order to enrich the natural habitat of wildlife in the area, the project will restore degraded forests to safeguard elephants and promote their survival while sequestering carbon alongside.
He said that farms with chilli-pepper grease fencing are not likely to be raided by elephants.
“It’s time farmers employ these cost-effective techniques to deter elephants from raiding their farms.
“Our work brings together people and skills needed to build Ghana’s capacity to conserve biodiversity through sound science, local initiatives and good governance,” he said.
Chief Resource Guide, Wildlife Division of Forestry Commission, Emmanuel Peasah explained that as habitats contract and human populations expand, the sustained competition between humans and elephants for resources in the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) has resulted in a dire conflict.
He said that unrivalled competition results in increasing incidents of human-elephant conflicts that cause crop losses, property damage, and human injuries and even deaths leading to animosity towards wildlife and retaliatory killings of elephants.
“Planting of palatable crops (maize, cocoa, among others) close to the park boundary by farmers has led to the hike in the incidence of elephant crop raids within the landscape.
“It’s time our farmers adopt the chilli-pepper grease fencing innovation, which will not be raided by elephants” he added.
Law Enforcement Officer, Wildlife Division, Kakum, Daniel Konzin indicated that they are introducing this program because it is an essential tool to support sustainable agricultural production and protect the forest.
“Through dialogue with farming and forest communities, we will distil and analyze their feedback on the effectiveness of our project and the need for more cooperation and collaboration will be very important in the implementation of this project.
The Chief of Assin Aworoso and Chairman for the project launch, Nana Kuaa Asare Odamusi II in his remarks emphasised the need to protect elephants as keystone species in the ecosystem and highlighted that one of the pathways to achieve this is through partnerships like the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and Conservation Alliance International.
He used the opportunity to thank Conservation Alliance International for helping build an alliance to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promote their human rights, and help them mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
“In the area of restoration and preservation of forests and biodiversity, I am very happy that Conservation Alliance with its partners is helping to strengthen Human-Elephant Co-existence in the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA).
A farmer in the Assin Aworoso conservation area where the project was launched expressed profound gratitude to the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) and Conservation Alliance International for their support and pledged to lead the way to reduce human-elephant conflict in the area.
“This project is a good opportunity for us to learn about elephant conservation and crop raid prevention techniques such as chilli-pepper grease fence” he added.
In attendance at the project launch were Ama Akayema Sasu (Natural Resource Officer) Conservation Alliance, Allan Amoako – Gyedu ( Enterprise Development Officer) Conservation Alliance, officials of Wildlife Division of Forestry Commission, Park Managers, NADMO, Ghana Tourism Authority, Community Leaders and some cocoa farmers in the Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) who all took part in the Project launch.
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