Hadlow College Degree Students Actively Engage in Animal Conservation.
In March 2013, as part of a project with Wildlife Action Group Malawi, final year BSc (Hons) Animal Conservation & Biodiversity students were set the task of designing a wildlife conflict mitigation strategy for the human/elephant conflict around the Thuma Forest Reserve. This formed part of their work in the module on examining animal/human conflict resolution and involved the students designing a programme and applying for funding from the International Elephant Fund.
Whilst a number of innovative and excellent suggestions were made, which included the students making equipment donations and one final year student helping to run a ‘cup-cakes for conservation’ stall at the College’s annual Lambing Weekend, only some of the ideas were able to be adopted. These ideas are currently being considered further in the management of the reserve in Central Malawi and include a variation of beehive fences aimed at supporting local farmers who have been impacted by elephant crop-raiding set up sustainable beehives; these ultimately act as a deterrent to elephant. This idea has been supported by the local communities as a way of protecting their crops and is currently being implemented in select farms in Malawi. Other projects include anti-poaching dogs and the implementation of capsicum fences.
Wildlife Action Group Malawi works to conserve 500km2 of forest in Malawi with the Thuma Forest Reserve is home to a number of key African species including African elephant. Through these projects, the students have actively engaged with international conservation and sustainability issues while making a genuine difference to people’s lives.