ELEPHANTS
& PEOPLE

We treasure our elephants, not only because they are remarkable creatures, but also because they are a keystone species that protect our environment and can help our people achieve a prosperous and stable future. Elephants destroy crops, damage infrastructure and even kill people. The EPI is dedicated to mitigating and, where possible, preventing, conflict between elephants and people. 

HUMAN ELEPHANT CONFLICT

As human populations grow and habitats shrink, Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) is increasing. ‘We must acknowledge that threats to elephants are changing’, says the EPI Foundation’s CEO, John Scanlon. ‘Across Africa elephants are losing their migratory routes, their habitats are under increasing threat, people are being tragically injured or killed, and farmers are seeing their crops destroyed’. In elephant range states like Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda, newspapers report on conflicts between elephants and humans on a weekly basis. ‘If these conflicts can’t be satisfactorily resolved, the long term prospects for elephants are bleak’, says John. Governments and conservationists are experimenting with various solutions, including electric fences, bee-hives and fences.  The EPI Foundation helps member countries to share knowledge, experience and technologies on HEC, and is a platform for them to share their position and articulate their challenges to the rest of the world.

Human population growth is a reality that conservationists must reckon with. Africa’s human population is expected to nearly double by the year 2050, from 1.2 billion people today to an estimated 2.4 billion people in 35 years. More people will mean increased pressures on land and resources. There will be less space available for all species and not just elephants. Conservationists must think clearly about this challenge and discuss openly how to manage elephants in human dominated landscapes.

Dr. Winnie Kiiru, Senior Technical Advisor for the EPI Foundation