Victoria Falls Ele Fence is up and running
by Tony Peel
(Victoria Falls Zimbabwe)
For many years the Victoria Falls dumpsite has been a major concern to our community. Elephants and other wildlife have been entering the dump to eat our waste products often ingesting large quantities of plastic in the process, which is evident in the elephant dung seen lying around our town. Several elephants have died and post mortems have revealed that the cause of death is most probably from the ingested plastic.
These days are now behind us as the Electric Elephant Fence around the Victoria Falls dumpsite has been erected, it is live and operational as of Tuesday the 20th December 2016. The first 2 nights after the fence was completed saw the elephants coming to the fence and getting shocked by the fence as they tried to enter the dump. They broke a couple of the strands as they attempted to break through but soon moved off. Since then, for the past 8 nights the elephants have been in the area but have not come close to the fence at all and the great news is that elephant dung, seen close to the dump has been completely free of any plastic. Elephants are clever animals and are almost certain to return and try to find ways to get through the fence but there are strategies in place to reinforce this as a “no go area” for them with the use of Chilli guns, spotlights and crackers, manned by volunteers from our community.
The dumpsite now has opening and closing hours from 7.30am till 4.30pm outside of these hours the dump is locked. The challenge now is to stop people dumping outside the fence when it is closed, please be aware of these hours and advise staff and other members of the community.
A huge thanks goes out to many members of the community and the donors that have made this possible. Charlene Hewat, Environment Africa and Vic Falls Green fund who have for 5 years been doggedly planning this and getting through all the red tape. Robin Brown who was instrumental in the drive to get the fence completed. Roger Parry, Ian Dupreez, Edith January, Yvonne Jandles, Namo Chuma, Kent Davis and Daniel Peel who attended early meetings, gave advice, researched alternative methods and other models and made the final decision on what method to implement. Mr Ngwenya, Mr Mupande and Mr Ncube from Victoria Falls council who all assisted and were very helpful in making this possible, Mr Chris Lampard for erecting the fence and going way beyond the call of duty.
To the donors; Shearwater Adventures, Business league golf, Environment Africa, Simply Africa and Mr and Mrs Danks whose generous donations enabled the fence to get started. Then to Guy Cockroft and his “Elefenst Concert” and its sponsors, who raised over a staggering $6000. To all of these very generous donors, the community and the Elephant fence team are very grateful as the project could never have started or could it be maintained properly in the future, which is vitally important to the success of this electric fence.
Best wishes for a prosperous 2017