A wonderful thing

After spending a semester in a Penn State course about sustainability I’ve learned how treacherous human-wildlife conflict can be. Recently, three group members and myself indulged ourselves in research about human-wildlife conflict in Southeast Africa and India.

Although most of the issues in those regions pertain to life and death situations, I couldn’t help but think back to my own experiences with human-wildlife conflict in my own backyard of Cogan Station. The impoverished people of Southeast Africa and India are making strides in sustaining their land, practices, and wildlife. Their tactics can be applied in settings close to home, literally.

For those rural folks, I’m sure we’ve all dealt with rabbits chewing up our lettuce, or rodents digging up our flowerbeds but look no further for an answer to your wildlife woes. I’ve found that using non-costly, sustainable techniques can work both across the globe and in our own backyards. For example, those pesky rabbits, like other animals, are frightened by noise. Place stakes around your garden and attach aluminum foil pie pans via string.

Tribes in Africa use a similar strategy but on a much larger scale considering they’re fending off elephants and tigers. If you’re dealing with larger animal, consider building a fence and dousing it in chili pepper. Most important, we found that areas must come together to decide on a sustainable living style, not just involving human-wildlife conflict.

The decision of one person to kill off a member of a species can threaten the integrity of an entire collective action movement. Therefore I urge you to look into tactics that sustain not only your wallets, your environment, but also the species that surround you. By doing so you’re experiencing the type of community that exists in places like Southeast Africa and India, which can be a wonderful thing.

Ellen Burns

Cogan Station

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom