TOO HOT TO HANDLE
Burning a simple mixture of dung and chilli can take the heat out of a tricky conflict between humans and elephants, according to new research.
Chilli briquettes are widely used by farmers to stop their crops being trampled, but there had been little scientific support for the method, until University of Oxford biologists tested it in Botswana.
The elephants do indeed keep away from the smoke, though it didn’t not stop them coming back between burns. “Our findings suggest that, within a period of two weeks, elephants identified the location and time at which the briquettes were smouldering,” says Rocío Pozo of the Oxford team.
Nevertheless, says Pozo, the briquettes offer an excellent, non-lethal, shortterm elephant deterrent. “We hope that it will also provide a long term benefit – by helping to decrease negative perceptions of elephants and therefore combining them with land-use managements in the field.”
African elephants have learned smoking is bad for your health.