Kenya’s Laikipia County, located on the equator is home to over 6,300 elephants. Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is, therefore, a constant challenge for this area, as well as the wider region. To reduce this, as well as protect the elephants from poachers, protect crops, and reduce pressure on grassland from illegal pastoralists, Joshua Irungu, Governor of Laikipia is collaborating with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), wildlife charity Space for Giants and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum.
The Laikipia Elephant Fence will be constructed around the area used by the BATUK. It will cost around 88m Kenyan Shilling ($871,000) and take one year to be completed. The fence which will link up with and improve existing elephant fences – is also to sustain Army training areas, provide a separation zone between community farms and provide a migratory route for elephants.
Funding for the project, which is being led by Irungu, will come from BATUK, the Governor, wildlife charity Space for Giants and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum.
“The Laikipia fence will protect farmers, elephants and help sustain training areas and we are very pleased to contribute to this project,” said Colonel Tom Vallings, Commander BATUK.
In response to the daily challenges of HEC, in 2014 Governor Irungu established the Human-Elephant Conflict Task Force, which includes BATUK, elephant charity Space for Giants, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, the Agricultural Development Cooperation, Ngorare Ranch and the Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
After the completion of the fence, its long-term maintenance will be handed over to the respective private landowners, in January 2018. Until this point Space for Giants will lead on maintaining the fence.