The project involves giving orange trees to farmers who are not protected from elephants by the electric fence that currently surrounds many of the farms. We plant the trees around the crop fields, as elephants do not like the smell of citrus, so the orange trees act as a biological fence, their smell overpowering that of the crops within and deterring the elephants. It was really interesting going to a farm to plant the trees and take care of them, as it has given me a direct insight into the lives of the farmers who share this land with the elephants.
It is fulfilling to feel that we are protecting the farmers and their livelihood from the elephants, while giving them another source of income, and all without posing any threat to the elephants or placing any man-made structure into the environment. It is amazing to be part of this project, to watch it take shape and imagine it becoming the norm as it starts to take effect.
It completely symbolises the type of solution we should be striving to create in all areas of environmental conflict: a solution that educates people about the issue and allows them to benefit from the solution, so that they are happy to protect our environment and the animals that share it with us, rather than feeling threatened by it.