Vuvuzela trumpets used to deter elephants in Uganda

African elephants migration routes have been disrupted, meaning attacks in villages are becoming more frequent

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The Independent Online

In Ugandan villages near national parks, shifting elephant migration routes have meant elephant attacks in rural communities have become much more common.

As an answer to this problem, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has begun holding seminars in these villages to encourage the use of vuvuzela plastic trumpets to ward away the elephants.

Elephant corridors have existed for thousands of years in Uganda, and have rarely presented problems for the country’s human population. However, in recent years the reduction in the elephant population’s habitat have meant these pathways have been rerouted, leading to an increased rate of elephant attacks on farms and homes in rural Uganda.

The long plastic vuvuzela trumpets, often sold at football matches and concerts, emit a loud booming sound that irritates the elephants, and deters them from traveling near villages.

Firing gunshots into the air used to work, but according to Ranger Moses, “after using this over the years animals have got used to that sound which is produced by the A-K47. Even if you shoot, it may look at you, flap its ears and continue with whatever it wants.”

UWA rangers have been handing out vuvuzelas as alternative deterrents to community members in areas of Murchison Falls National Park, as the higher pitch of the noise seems to irritate the elephants more.

Common non-lethal methods for deterring elephants in Uganda include setting up beehives, stringing ropes covered in chilli oil across village lines, and digging long trenches.

However all elephants are different, and according to Gessa Simblicious, a spokesman for the UWA, each animal responds differently to the deterrents, so vuvuzelas could be a new solution.