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Following an intensive three-month period of unwavering dedication, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has successfully completed the construction of a 5.6-kilometre fence surrounding an ecological recovery zone.

This remarkable undertaking represents an innovative approach to mitigating the detrimental effects of elephants and giraffes on the rejuvenation of woody vegetation. By creating a barrier, the fence enables the revival of pressurised species such as acacia, fostering their resurgence and growth within the area.

A tree that has been destroyed by elephants (Herman Njush)

This conservation initiative stands as a testament to the commitment and vision of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in promoting the restoration and preservation of natural habitats. The growth of woody vegetation not only supports browsers like the black rhino but also creates a vibrant habitat for an array of small mammals, birds, and reptiles.

The meticulous process of creating this recovery zone involves careful alignment of the fence, considering factors such as wildlife movement patterns, migration routes, and the natural landscape to minimise disruption to wildlife.

Poles are secured in previously dug holes spaced at 8 metres, and horizontal wires are attached to the poles at a height no less than 5.5 feet from the ground. The smart fence operates using specialised mechanisms known as triggers, which consist of protruding spikes strategically designed to target the sensitive body parts of elephants, deterring them from entering the recovery zone.

Triggers to deter elephants (Image Susan Watiri)

To power this innovative fence, a state-of-the-art unit that includes an energizer battery and a solar panel is installed, embodying both effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

Solar panel installed to power the fence (Image Susan Watiri)

The electric fence is diligently monitored on a daily basis by a dedicated fencer who is stationed in close proximity to the fence. This vigilant monitoring ensures that any necessary repairs and maintenance are promptly addressed. Common issues that may require attention include damage caused by fallen trees impacting the fence or attempts by elephants to breach the fence.

By proactively identifying and rectifying such damage, the fencer helps maintain the integrity and functionality of the electric fence, ensuring its effectiveness in protecting the designated area.

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