Researchers Deploy Disco Lights In Botswana To Protect Crops From Crop-Raiding Elephants

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By Anthony McLennan / Truth Theory

It’s back to the 70’s for elephants in Botswana after it was discovered that disco lights are effective in discouraging them from damaging farm lands.

Huge lines of flashing multi-colored lights have been placed around crop fields in the Chobe Enclave.

This area is located next to the Chobe National Park which supports an elephant population of around 7,500. It’s also a fertile floodplain which is why the farmers have been growing crops there.

Shrinking space for elephants

The problem is that elephants also visit the area to access drinking water and to graze. And while doing so, they can sometimes cause major damage to crops.

To minimize trampled farmlands and the potential for elephants to be killed by angry farmers, a team of researchers led by Australian scientist Tempe Adams has worked on the issue for several years.

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According to Adams, the idea came to light after hearing from farmers that they had been partially successful in keeping elephants away from their crops by using simple torch flashes.

The research team set up the disco lights at four villages and after testing it was found that the lights were effective in keeping away 75% of  the elephants.

“Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of light barriers to reduce negative human–elephant interactions in rural communities,” read part of the researchers’ statement.

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The lights have been placed on 1.7 metre high poles, at 10 metre intervals. Various colors including green, amber, white, red, blue and yellow are flashed. The color sequence is also changed in order to stop the elephants from getting accustomed to it.

The lights are solar powered and come on by themselves at night.
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With humans taking over more and more land for farming, conflicts such as these are increasingly happening around the world.

It also gives authorities what they feel is reason to justify the culling of wild animals such as elephants.

There are an estimated 125,000 – 130,000 elephants in Botswana. The country has the largest population of African elephants on the continent, about a third of its total. 

Tragically, it emerged earlier this month that more than three hundred elephants have died of unknown causes, thought possibly to be some kind of novel virus or bacteria.


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