byJoan Wandegi via web
The first Mending Fences Comic Book was launched on World Environment Day, in Nanyuki on June 5. Mending Fences is a strikingly true depiction of what communities are up against when they decide to protect themselves from elephants.
Human-elephant conflict (HEC) remains an enormous challenge in Laikipia wherever people and elephants share space; and it’s not all about electric fences! It's about the will of communities and the authorities to support efforts that allow for good decisions to be made.
HEC in Laikipia, in particular the problem of crop-raiding, is considered a cause of food insecurity and property damage. The illegal killing of elephants and the political tension between those who tolerate elephant conservation and those who suffer the costs of living with elephants are very real.
To address this problem the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and local landowners, through funding provided by the Kenya Government and Royal Netherlands Embassy, initiated the 163 km West Laikipia Fence (WLF) project initiated in 2007.
This Project builds on the Laikipia Fencing Strategy developed by Laikipians in 2002, led by LWF, and broadly endorsed by local and national stakeholders concerned with the livelihoods and safety of people, and the conservation of an endangered species - the African Elephant.
Due to the seriousness of HEC in Laikipia, LWF continues to work with landowners, agricultural and pastoralist communities to find ways that electric fences (and other practices) can be used to prevent human-wildlife conflicts from escalating. We have joined KWS and the County Government of Laikipia to improve electric fencing in western Laikipia among rural, agricultural members in Marmanet, Rumuruti and Lariak Forests. LWF is also part of the Governor's task force to rebuild the damaged and destroyed sections of the West Laikipia Fence, along with Space for Giants and landowners. We are working with Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), ranchers, and community conservancies to reduce and manage HEC in our rangelands.
The production of Mending Fences was made possible by the generous support of USAID and EKN.