Text by Laura Buckley
Photography Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society
There's a new recipe for protecting the threatened African elephant: chili sauce.
In recent years, African elephants have earned the nickname "the world's largest garden pest" by gobbling up to 300 pounds of crops in a single day (read ADVENTURE's award-winning feature about rogue elephants in Assam, India). So it's no surprise that the relationship between elephants and farmers is a bit rocky. But now, an innovative chili pepper product may help reduce this conflict.
Elephant Pepper, developed through the support of the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society, allows farmers to grow peppers as a valuable cash crop without fear of elephant "raids." Apparently, elephants dislike capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers taste hot) and turn up their trunks to peppers. It's a win-win.
For those of you in New York City, check out any Food Emporium from September 19th through October 2nd for a taste (we sure will). "Now, U.S. markets and consumers can make a positive contribution to both elephants and those who live with them in Africa," said Dr. Loki Osborn, co-founder of Elephant Pepper Development Trust. Products for the chilli enthusiast, including Zambezi Red, Baobab Gold, Mozambique Masala and Zanzibar spice grinders, can also be ordered online. Sounds like a delicious way to help the planet to us.