Cow dung, rotten eggs and chilli stop elephant crop pests in East Africa
A thick, foul-smelling liquid made from rotten eggs, cow dung and other natural ingredients is helping Ugandan and Kenyan farmers save their crops from marauding elephants.
The smelly elephant repellent was tested on 30 farms in Uganda, near Murchison Falls National Park, and 10 in Kenya, which are adjacent to Tsavo East National Park.
In Uganda, the concoction stopped 82% of 309 elephant raids on crops, while in Kenya it stopped 63% of 24 raids, according to findings published in the journal Diversity.
The repellent also contains chilli, ginger, garlic and neem leaves, a species native to India widely grown in East Africa.
These ingredients are crushed with a pestle, mixed with water, boiled and sieved before being left to mature for four weeks in an airtight container.
“All of these ingredients mix well to create an awful smell. For us, it stinks, but we don’t know how elephants perceive it,” said Lydia Tiller, co-author of the diversity study.
“I think what it does is mask the smell of ripening crops because it’s so bad and so potent.”
Farms in Kenya’s Lower Sagalla region are adjacent to Tsavo East, part of the Tsavo Conservancy, home to nearly 15,000 elephants, while Uganda’s Latoro farming area is near the northern boundary of the park Murchison Falls National Park, home to 1,300 elephants. .
In Africa, in the countries where they are found, elephants frequently invade crops in fields adjacent to national parks, sometimes attacking and killing people. – AIM-New Ziana.