Elephants need vast space to live, but as the human population grows, elephants are forced into an increasingly fragmented landscape. As a result, each year in Kenya the lives and livelihoods of subsistence farmers are seriously threatened by elephants. Since 2007, farmers on the Laikipia Plateau in northern Kenya have lost £2.5 million through destruction of maize and beans by elephants. 32 people have been killed by elephants in Laikipia since 2000. Over 130 elephant deaths since 2007 were a result of this intense conflict between people and elephants.
I work as part of the Laikipia Elephant Project helping to stop human-elephant conflict in northern Kenya – to protect the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and to enable humans and elephants to coexist. We work through a team of community scouts across the region who are on the ground, talking to farmers and local communities and monitoring human-elephant conflict and the behaviour of ‘problem’ bulls that destroy crops and property. This year the Laikipia Elephant Project team is coming together to run the marathon. We are a team of seven scouts and researchers – all kitted out with new running shoes and running round our different parts of northern Kenya to train for the Safaricom marathon at Lewa. I have been running around Sangare, up and down hills with a banger stick in each hand in case I bump into any buffalo or a hidden leopard.
The Lewa marathon is known as one of the toughest marathons in the world. We’ll be running through Lewa’s wildlife – herds of zebra and elephants, in the heat of the African sun. A few years ago a pride of lion had to be distracted from the stream of runners running towards them!
Any support in helping us reach our target of £5,000 to enable LEP to carry out our work would be really appreciated – you can find my page here.
We have just raised funds to put on three radio-collars onto the biggest, baddest bulls in the region (called Jangwani, Robinson and Nelson) who lead other bull elephants in fence-breaking and crop raiding in the region. Now we are able to see how they are moving across the landscape and behaving at farms and fences. This will help us to best make decisions about how to manage elephants in the landscape. Collars also indirectly protect elephants from poaching. The money raised through the marathon will go towards buying extra collars for other problem bulls in Laikipia and help us secure space for these giants.