Farmers in Assin South District of the Central Region are appealing to government to step in to save their farms from destruction by stray elephants suspected to be coming from the Kakum National Park.
The farmers explain that attempts to get the district assembly and the Wildlife division in the area to help stop the rampant invasion and destruction of their farms by the elephants have proven futile leaving them perplexed.
Elephants invasion at Assin Nsabaah has been an annual occurrence where they migrate from their habitation in the forest reserve.
According to the farmers, large acreage of their crops worth about GHC 70,000 have been destroyed by the elephants with some farmers allegedly suffering injuries in their attempt to escape attacks by the elephants as they tried to drive away them from destroying their farms.
The crops mainly affected are maize, rice, groundnut, millet and plantain among others.
The elephant invasion and subsequent destruction of their farms, according to the farmers, has rendered them poor as the destruction has left them with little to live on.
The farmers are therefore appealing to government to roll out measures to stop the elephants from destroying their farms as the invasion has become a yearly affair.
The Kakum Conservation Area
The Kakum Conservation Area (KCA) lies in the moist evergreen zone. Kakum and Assin Attandanso Forest Reserves were demarcated in 1925/26 and 1935/36 respectively. They cover 366 km2 and now form the Kakum Conservation Area, which is managed as a national park.
The area is a fragment of the lowland forest that formerly covered south-western Ghana. Elephants once ranged throughout this area but were gradually restricted as the intensity of human disturbance increased during the 20th century. KCA is completely surrounded by a human-dominated landscape consisting of a mixture of cultivation, farm bush, patches of secondary forest, and swampland.
A study conducted found that, four farming variables had a major influence upon a farm’s risk of suffering raids by elephants: distance to boundary, area under cultivation, number of crops planted on the farm, and degree of the farm’s isolation. thus, farms adjacent to the park boundary are obviously most at risk, reflecting the common problem of human–wildlife conflict on the boundaries of protected areas in Ghana and elsewhere.