Protection of sensitive tree species – Read more here

All aspects of an ecosystem are equally as important as each other and here on Pidwa the vegetation is just as valuable to us as the animals. Elephants utilise tree species heavily whether it be to feed on their leaves, bark or fruits or to push them over to relieve anger or as a display to other elephants. Severe de-barking or up-rooting of a tree is likely to kill that individual or at very best, stunt and alter its growth.

Project aims:

To stop or minimise elephant damage towards targeted trees whether it be a particularly rare tree species on Pidwa or just an old, large and beautiful example of its species.

What’s being done?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Elephants actually have very sensitive feet and an extremely efficient elephant deterrent was discovered many years ago in the Kruger national park. One section ranger found that packing sharp rocks around the trunk of a tree prevented elephants from being able to push it over or carry out de-barking. This same technique is now being employed on Pidwa and rocks are collected from an old mica mine on the reserve to pack around the targeted trees trunks. To keep the elephants at bay, the rock perimeter must start a metre away from the trunk and extend out to a distance of 3 metres. Not wanting to hurt their sensitive feet on sharp rocks, the elephants rather leave that tree alone and move on to another.

The role of volunteers:

  • Rock collection & placement – To source and collect rocks from the mine and then arrange them around the base of the tree being targeted for protection.

 

© Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme

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