How do you scare away elephants that are causing problems?

It is very hard to stop a determined elephant. One big problem is that elephants are very intelligent and can become used to various tactics so that an approach that once scared elephants away no longer works. Because of this, I cannot give a definitive answer for what will work, but I will mention some possible approaches that have been used elsewhere.

Some methods are designed to increase detection of elephants, so that they can be scared off before they destroy crops or buildings. These include methods that I’m sure you’ve heard of and probably use such as setting up watchtowers with observers and burning fires all night along areas used by elephants. Some farmers have also created fences made of string with bells attached which ring if an elephant crosses or breaks the fence, alerting watchers that an elephant is coming. Other methods are more active approaches to scare off elephants when they do come. Some farmers have tried planting chili peppers among their crops so that elephants eat them while crop raiding and associate the bad taste with the fields. Others have tried burning dried chilies to give off smoke that is irritating to the elephant. Beating drums and throwing rocks is also used.

Farmers in Thailand have tried a method where they hang old or unwanted CDs from strings. As these rotate in the wind they reflect light, either from the moon or from a torch, placed to shine on them, which may help scare the elephants away. Some interesting work has been done in Kenya, finding that elephants avoid the sound of angry bees. A study found that elephant raids were lower for a farm surrounded by a fence with beehives compared to one that did not. I have not seen anything saying that this has been tried in Asia but if you can get access to bees, this might be worth trying. It also could provide supplemental income from honey sales to mitigate the cost of the beehives.

Again, elephants will become used to your measures over time so you may want to try using a combination of methods or changing what you do from time to time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

alkoroma November 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I just want to let you know how much i admire your talents to put all this facts together about this animals. Thank you very much.


narendra singh bhandari September 28, 2012 at 4:16 am

recently around 50 elephants have destroyed crops in a big area in Sankarpur area of kanchanpur Nepal.your suggestions may be helpful, specially burning chilli peppers and using honeybees.


narendra singh bhandari September 28, 2012 at 4:18 am

other ways have not worked.


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