As Drought Drives Elephants Closer To People, Consequences Can Be Deadly

"The season of searing temperatures will soon begin in northwestern Zimbabwe as the chilly months fade away. But for the villagers of Silewad the return of summer, storms and a new planting season increase the risk of elephants invading their land.

Silewad is near Hwange National Park, the country's premier game reserve which is roughly half the size of Belgium. Zimbabwe is home to Africa's second largest pachyderm population. It's growing at about 5% a year, and that means competition for water and land between humans and the world's largest land mammal is increasing in and around Hwange.

During these last weeks of the cool months, the villagers rely on homemade remedies to keep elephants away from people, crops and water. In Silewad, not far from seasonal streams which attract elephants, five gloved and masked villagers use a large wooden pestle to pound a fermented mixture of chilis, garlic, ginger, neem leaves and elephant dung into a paste designed to keep the animals at bay."

Tendai Marima reports for NPR August 15, 2022.

Source: NPR, 08/16/2022