Anti-poaching rangers work to keep African wildlife on the planet. I don’t know about you, but I get seriously bummed when I think we might lose those animals forever.

African Wildlife Foundation supports anti-poaching

So I love that the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) supports and trains rangers to protect elephants and rhinos from poachers. It’s important to say that this approach works because they hire and train local folks to protect their own animals. That way, local people benefit from doing good work through jobs. And so do the animals.

Sadly, at this point in time, the best way to save black rhinos from poachers is move them to sanctuaries in the wild. And that’s where rangers work. One of the sanctuaries in Kenya had 3 rhinos in 1986. Thirty years later, they’re up to 100 rhinos.

Sides of the Horn

To understand what rangers are up against, watch this short movie, Sides of a Horn. This movie helped me “see” the difficulties of saving rhinos from poachers.

More than anti-poaching rangers: beehives and hot chilis

And I loved hearing about ways local people are figuring out how to protect their crops from elephants without violence.

AWF reports,

“But much of the time, effective conservation means keeping the peace. As wildlife habitat is increasingly converted to agricultural use, humans and elephants are in closer, more frequent contact. When a herd tramples all-important food crops, farmers sometimes kill elephants in retaliation. To help mitigate human-elephant conflict, AWF provides a toolkit of strategies, including chili crops, beehive fencing, noisemakers, and lights — all deployed to repel or frighten off invading elephants.”

Who knew that beehive fencing could keep out elephants?

Here’s how it works. Farmers set up cables attached to the beehives. If elephants cross the cables to get to the crops, angry bees attack. The elephants leave. Plus, farmers now have a new source of income – honey.

And hot chilis too!

I was astounded that the smell of growing chilis repelled elephants, too!  Even better, they created a market for the chilis, so this was a cash crop for local farmers. (Come to think of it, if they grew habanero or ghost peppers, they’d repel me, too – my heat index does a hard stop at jalapeno peppers.)

Human ingenuity

In these cases, human ingenuity works! These good people use their imaginations and will to solve problems. So I’m reassured by stories like these.

By the way, I always like to check how charities are rated. The African Wildlife Foundation gets a 3-star rating (out of 4) from Charity Navigator. I trust Charity Navigator.

Want to read about orangutans?

Read my blog about The Orangutan Project