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Meet the Chili Bombers

Human wildlife conflict remains prevalent in many parts of Mfuwe. One of these areas is Kakumbi chiefdom, in which community fields are frequently raided by monkeys, baboons and more especially, elephants. Elephants also cause damage to homes, in search of food, and their conflict with humans is sometimes fatal.

According to community members of Daniel village in Kakumbi Chiefdom, Eastern province, elephants raid homes and farmland, as often as four (4) times a week. This peaks during the rainy season, when most farmers have planted maize, which is a staple crop in Zambia, losing this crop leaves many communities in a desperate situation. As Human-Wildlife-Conflict cases in Daniel village went from bad to worse over the years, the community approached Conservation South Luangwa to provide solutions. 

With funding from WWF, Conservation South Luangwa begun working with members of Daniel village, so that they could protect themselves from these conflicts, through training 20 men in chili bombing. Chili bombing is a human wildlife crime mitigating measure that involves firing a chili bomb at an animal, to chase it away.  

Before Conservation South Luangwa assisted us with chili bombs, I would sometimes have my maize field attacked by elephants and I once lost all my crop. Now, I am no longer afraid. When the elephants come, we chase them away before they get into our fields, or attack our homes”, said Peter Banda, one of the chili bombers supported by Conservation South Luangwa, and a father of 8 children.

© Jasper Doest/ WWF
Peter Banda explains why he became a chili bomber

Peter Banda usually goes on patrols with his colleague Wilson Mwale, a father of 3 children. They have both lived in Daniel village all their lives and have been chili bombing for the past 5 years. They have seen a significant reduction in human-elephant-conflict, since the chili bombing. 

© Jasper Doest/ WWF
Peter Banda and Wilson Mwale walking through Daniel Village while on patrol