Hwange residents embrace Red Chilies as way of curbing Human and Wildlife conflict.
By Staff Writer.
One fine morning in 2019, Luckmore Mudenda in Jambezi woke up to a herd of nearly 20 elephants
in his field working their way through his sorghum, cotton, and maize plants. He knew that he had to
act fast to save what was left of the crop and ensure that his family would have something to eat
come harvest time. Luckily, he was prepared.
He quickly fetched chili pepper blocks from his house and burned them on a charcoal brazier until
they produced pungent smoke. The acrid fumes irritated the elephants without harming them and
they soon gave up on Mudenda farm and moved on. The farmer sighed and made his way back to his
house. He would live to fight another day.
“Chilies can be a way to repel elephants and to earn extra income. I planted chilies at the periphery
of my field where the elephant paths are and I have found that since then, elephants have only
attempted to enter my farm four times in the past one year. Even on those occasions, they only
ventured in a few meters before they were overcome by the smell of chilies and left. So I did not
suffer the kind of losses that I have suffered in the past,” he says.
Elephants have taken on an iconic status in conservation. A thriving elephant population is seen as
indicative of a healthy natural ecosystem. Scientists consider them a keystone wildlife species and
tourists do not count a safari trip complete until they see vast herds of elephants.
However, these beloved pachyderms have become a menace in many parts of rural Africa. In
Hwange district included. The animals are encroaching to communities causing an increase of human
An official from Zimparks said the cause of human –conflict is due to a number of reasons which
include Settlements, expansion of human settlement into wildlife habitat-growth of towns, rural
settlements, farms etc. Agriculture expansion, mining and industry expansion as well as dams and
water bodies attract wild animals to humans hence crating a human and wildlife conflict.
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