Fencing elephants: The hidden politics of wildlife fencing in Laikipia, Kenya | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
February 2016
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Conservation is a fundamentally spatial pursuit. Human–elephant conflict (HEC), in particular crop-raiding, is a significant and complex conservation problem wherever elephants and people occupy the same space. Conservationists and wildlife managers build electrified fences as a technical solution to this problem. Fences provide a spatial means of controlling human–elephant interactions by creating a place for elephants and a place for cultivation. They are often planned and designed based on the ecology of the target species. Yet as we show in this case study, behind their technical façade, fences are highly political. This article presents the process of planning and building the 121km West Laikipia Fence: created to prevent elephants from moving out of large private and government-owned ranches and onto smallholder cultivated land to the west of Laikipia County. We seek to show how the construction of a fence to solve the problem of HEC led to the division, reinforcement and communication of territory on the ground and how this was captured and shaped by different, and sometimes conflicting, political interests.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Evans, Lauren A.
Adams, -->William M.


Land Use Policy is an international and interdisciplinary journal concerned with the social, economic, political, legal, physical and planning aspects of urban and rural land use. It provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information from the diverse range of disciplines and interest groups which must be combined to formulate effective land use policies.

Data provider

ScienceDirect logo

What is ScienceDirect

Elsevier’s leading platform of peer-reviewed scholarly literature.

University libraries and institutions offer ScienceDirect access to their communities of researchers.

Researchers, teachers, students, healthcare and information professionals use ScienceDirect to improve the way they search, discover, read, understand and share scholarly research.

Share this page