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Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

Posted September 24, 2012 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta

Fences serve to protect what's on either side. A fence around an African mountain is no small feat but is hoped to yield valuable results.

Several organizations are working together to build a fence around Mt. Kenya. The goal of the fence is to keep wild animals from straying onto farmland and destroying crops. The fence will serve as a protective barrier around Mt. Kenya National Park and the surrounding forest that's listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Mt. Kenya Fence

Various types of fencing will be used to deter the animals. Both physical and psychological barriers are used. As the name suggests, physical barriers are difficult to cross and may be made of stone, wire or chain, or could even be moats. Psychological barriers are electric fences that serve to remind animals not to cross that area. Solar power can be used to electrify the fence.

Here are the specs of the Mt. Kenya fence:

  • 6 feet 6 inches high
  • 3 feet 4 inches feet deep into the ground
  • 250 miles long
  • 5 years to completion at a cost of $11.8 million

As of August 8 about one mile of fence had been completed. Construction began near Castle Forest Station in Kirinyaga County. It's part of the 31-mile long first phase expected to be completed in 18 months.

Fence Maintenance

What happens to the fence after years are invested in its construction? The groups most recently completed a fence around the Aberdare Mountains, a source of clean water supply for Nairobi. The fence is regularly maintained by about 100 "scouts" that clear undergrowth, repair damage, and replace worn out parts.

Pros and Cons of Wildlife Fences

Keeping the animals away from farmland protects the farmers' efforts. The fence also protects the wild animals from harm such as angry farmers or poachers. This sounds like a win-win situation, right?

Like any project, a wildlife fence is not 100% ideal. Many animals, especially certain African mammals, migrate to follow food supplies and water sources. Would the animals face hardships if they could not migrate?

Researchers in the Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari Desert tracked some of the park's zebras to see how the animals deal with drought and migration. After 10 years of monitoring researchers agree that the fence does not cause problems caused by migration constrictions. Park workers did, however, dig some additional watering holes to replace those that the zebras could no longer access.

Resources:

Gradling - Mt. Kenya to be Surrounded by Electric Fence

Kenya Wildlife Service - KWS Fencing Program [image]

Rhino Ark

Smithsonian.com - Nothing Can Stop the Zebra

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Guru

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#1

Re: Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

09/25/2012 12:56 AM

In many countries fences are erected to safeguard property,persons,roadways etc from stray as well as wild animals but the electrification(voltage)/height etc of the fence depends on the kind of animals from whom you need protection. Another solution is to install some kind of radar on the fence and sound an alarm at a selected frequency for which the animal will fled. Also you can arrange to give an alarm to the nearest fence guard point if an animal breaks/crosses it.

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Guru
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#2

Re: Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

09/26/2012 7:45 AM

I'm surprised they're not using chili fences.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

09/26/2012 7:48 AM

Interesting concept. I wonder if there are other animals that might eat them. Or if the elephants would trample them?

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

10/01/2012 10:06 AM

Apparently the elephants only try the once to push through the fences...they quickly learn to recognise the plants, being intelligent. For some reason they really don't like chillis.

They are widely used, so other species must avoid them too.

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Re: Fences Make Good Neighbors in Africa

09/26/2012 8:04 AM

In Africa they use bee-hives to chase elephants.

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