In The News


Mar 29, 2023

For decades, Amboseli sat on a ticking time bomb, as agriculture expanded across the ecosystem, spreading into wildlife habitat, and igniting a deadly conflict. Hungry elephants were raiding farms on a nightly basis destroying crops and livelihoods. So farmers took matters into their own hands, spearing elephants in desperate attempts to protect their crops.

By 2016, this conflict had become more deadly than poaching. A physical barrier was the only option, to separate elephants from farmers and their crops. As the fence grew, its impact was immediate. Crop raiding was
reduced dramatically, and so was the number of elephants killed.

By 2020, Big life had constructed more than 100 km of life-saving fence. Now, farmers can spend nights at home instead of out protecting their fields. Farmers are safe, and so are elephants.

Please help us keep them safe.

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*The annual cost to keep the fence operational, protecting thousands of acres of farmland and saving the lives of countless elephants, is about $220,000*. This includes the salaries and operating expenses of all fence teams, as well as the cost of materials and labor for repairs and maintenance.

Unfortunately, persistent global inflation is driving the costs of all Big Life programs ever upward, at a time when the stakes are high. On average, fence maintenance costs have shot up by 53%, and petrol for vehicles needed to move rangers and maintenance teams has risen by 50%.

As far as peacekeeping missions go, we believe this is worth every penny. And we need your help. Please donate to help us keep the fence operational and our rangers on patrol. Elephant and human lives depend on it.

*DID YOU KNOW:* There are multiple ways of negotiating with elephants. Their trunks and eyes are sensitive, and we’ve been testing an experimental
fence made of rags infused with chili oil, that deters elephants but is not harmful. The process is time-intensive, and the potency wears off quickly, but it’s an interesting alternative in the right circumstances.

Elephants also hate bees, and beehive fences have shown promising results in other areas. They are best used on smaller individual farms and are unfortunately impractical at the scale needed in our case. It would be impossible to maintain a single unbroken beehive fence (with occupied hives) along the 100+ km that we manage, and we know from experience how quick elephants are to exploit weaknesses.

We also know that there is no silver bullet for solving human-elephant conflict. Elephants are smart and always learning, and we try our best to do the same.


*PS* – In times of financial instability, gifts of assets, like stock, and gifts via donor-advised funds (DAFs) and IRA charitable rollovers, are great ways to support Big Life’s mission while maintaining liquidity. Remember, there is more than one way to stand with wildlife! Learn more

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