The community of Ntalaban Community, which resides on the Northern Boarder of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC), has continually faced human-wildlife conflict. In particular, elephant interference on their communal land. Characterised by constant destruction to agricultural farm produce as well as to their homes the Ntalaban community where hostile to the elephants that encroached on their land. So bad was this human-wildlife conflict that some elephants were manned and killed.
To help resolve the situation, LWC, in partnership with the community and UNEP, decided to erect 5.5 km of electric fences surrounding the Ntalaban community to mitigate against the human-wildlife conflict in the area. The 6000-volt fence will act as a deterrent to elephants and other wildlife in the community.
Community led dialogue
The idea of erecting the fence was arrived at through dialogue with the Agro-Pastoral Communities in Ntalaban, Kenya Wildlife Service, local authorities including the Chief and community representatives, together with LWC. The outcome of this dialog has seen the community extend grace and leniency towards the wildlife.
Before the dialogue, the community had maxed out their patience with the wildlife and only viewed them as a danger and a threat to their livelihoods. Now the community rejoices and appreciates that the elephants belong to everybody and that it is our joint responsibility to take care of them. LWC’s Community Manager, John Kinoti, agreed.
Rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service at some point in the past would take turns manning the elephants in Ntalaban to ensure they were not killed in the human conflict. Now they can refocus their resources to manning other areas that need their presence more urgently.
In a colorful event, on the 12th of July 2022, the Ntalaban community was handed over the fence. With a better understanding of the value of conserving wildlife, the community is now in a better place to appreciate that we must co-exist with wildlife and where possible. Part of the brief given to the contractor of the fence was a strong request that the personnel and labour force for the fence be derived from the Ntalaban community. This will ensure that there is ownership of the fence.
The handover ceremony was attended by a large representation from the community, area MCA, Chief, Kenya Wildlife Service officials, and representatives of area conservancies, including Lewa Wildlife Conservation.
As LWC, we are grateful to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust for providing the funding for the construction of this fence, which will go a long way in the preservation of wildlife in the area.