Installation of elephant deterrent webbing system in response to elephant crop-raiding in Boteti area.

Human-elephant conflict (HEC) requires management efforts and application of strategic methods at the landscape level. Following the knowledge sharing and evaluation workshop held in Rakops (3rd-4th December 2020) for HEC resolution in Boteti area, the Boteti Rural Development Trust (BRDT) has installed Elephant Deterrent Webbing System (EDWS) on the 10th April 2021 in one of the pilot crop fields at Makhi cluster farms, about 20km west of Rakops village in the Boteti Sub-District. The EDWS is one of the strategic methods that was selected for combination with other strategies during the HEC resolution workshop.

The system is intended to act as an efficacious utility model for the protection of crop fields and other property from invading elephants. The EDWS was described as user and environment-friendly, durable and reliable and works in all weather conditions, hence an essentially safe and non-lethal deterrent method. The twisting movements of the webbing, caused by wind, produces high frequency sound which compels elephants and other species to retreat. Low frequency effects are also hypothesized, where seismic resonances created from above the ground appear to create compressional waves to be later sensed/or picked by an elephant through its feet. Elephants have been observed to retreat even without high frequency above the ground. Possibly, touch receptors under the feet pick the vibrations and send a signal to the brain. The high reflective high visibility fluorescent orange colour also serves as a powerful visual repulsive instrument. The system has been piloted at other areas such as; Mokubilo village in Boteti-Sub District and Kazungula in the Chobe District, with positive testimonies from the users.

The BRDT initiative is financially supported by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme implemented by United Nations Development Programme and technical assistance from BirdLife Botswana and the government through the Technical Advisory Committee. BRDT board members receiving Elephant Deterrent Web product         

  Installation of Elephant Deterrent Web at Makhi farms      

  Installed Elephant Deterrent Web at Makhi farms