Southern Kenya has seen an escalation in human-wildlife conflict over a 180-acre avocado plantation spreading near Amboseli National Park. Sources reveal the growing agricultural farm has steered the struggle between humans and the wild animals, especially the elephants in the area. Kenya Wildlife Authorities have complained of the elephant’s endangerment; some killed, injured, or poached for their tusks and skin.
Elephants in Danger
The encroachment of wild animals in Africa has been a delicate issue since time immemorial. Initially, the animals, more so the elephants, were poached for their ivory. Nevertheless, the desire to hunt the wild pack has elevated to another level. It is hard to comprehend why some people are so ruthless with the ecosystem’s aesthetic creations.
Recently, a growing avocado plantation has become a major source of controversy. Kenya Wildlife forces have accused the plantation owners of interfering with the elephant’s migratory route through barricading their passage. Environmental groups say that about 2000 elephants migrate annually through the blocked route, threatening their existence in the future, especially as migration contributes to reproduction. Some animals look for their mates during migration.
“There are two farms there, and both of them are exactly in the middle of a wildlife dispersal area. We have recorded some of these areas have been used by the elephant as maternity. They come out of the park to give birth there and go back when the calf is good enough to walk. So, when we do a large farm there, then it means we are going to lose that space; the elephant has to find another space,” Daniel Ole Sambu, Big Life Foundation conservation group, complained.
Agriculture or Wildlife?
The debate on wildlife protection and agriculture has taken a turn as enthusiasts from both sides stress the significance of wildlife and agriculture to Kenya’s economy. Agriculturalists have based their argument on the global profits they have been making from the land. For instance, the current avocado plantation in operation near Amboseli has been milking the country’s gains. The global demand for avocados generated Kenya up to 33% profits last year, approximately 127 million dollars.
Jeremiah Saalash, a shareholder of the Agribusiness Farm company KiliAvo Fresh, states that they bought the lands last year from a local Maasai. According to him, the land is an asset, a source of income, a source of livelihood. When they first bought the ground, it was bare; however, they have witnessed a transition since they began growing avocados.
Most of whom were pastoralists, the locals now have employment opportunities in the farms and can afford other basic needs like education. Furthermore, people in metropolitan areas, mostly the city centers, rely on their products for their living. Factories in towns also have access to fresh produce from the farms. Some of the freshly processed drinks in the country are a product of fruits.
However, KiliAvo’s massive investment in the tiny ecosystem has sparked an outcry. Reports allege it is a one-way investment, for it could lead to the crippling of the tourism industry. Developments should be sustainable for the survival of organisms in the ecosystem.