Collaboration vs. Competition

The Soft foot alliance was born in 2016 but really, started its life in a series of observations and profound insights across several years before that. Brent and Laurie over the years of living and working in the protected area had been on a constant learning journey. During this time the chief welcomed them into his area and gave them land to steward, on which Laurie built their home using permaculture and natural building, to live a life of co-existence for themselves. They also knew that it was there, amongst the people living with wildlife, that they would get the deepest insights into living with nature as one.

It seemed that it was less and less about the actual animals themselves and more about the people. We realized that the animals and the conflict that people feel associated with living with them are just symptoms of something greater and that is degradation. Landscapes are degrading, community is degrading, opportunities are degrading and although conflict with wildlife is acute at times and no doubt serious……it is but a symptom of a much more complex illness.
They came to see that Conflict between people and wildlife is largely about the sharing of space and the sharing of a finite resource. That “resource” can be crops, water, grasslands and forage and people’s livestock. Permaculture design and holistic management are tools that tackle this root cause of degradation and depleting resources to turn things around. The Soft foot alliance believes through reconnection with ourselves and the nature of which we are a part of we can heal our communities and landscapes.
To bring co-existence we concentrate on creating whole landscapes of abundance. Abundance in the environment then creates abundant opportunities for people too.

Co-existing On The Land We Share

Honey Badger
Honey Badger

The honey badger is a little spoken about species that conflicts directly with people over their poultry mainly but also those that keep bees. It is nocturnal and sports a set of very long claws that it uses to dig under fences and steal chickens. They can climb well and have a ferocious reputation when cornered

Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena

The spotted hyena accounts for as much livestock lost as lions. They tend to live amongst people in the communal lands rather than ‘raid’ and return to the protected areas like lions. They don’t tend to be dangerous to people in this area and as such people seem to accept their losses albeit bitterly


Baboons are by far the most challenging species in terms of conflict with subsistence farmers because they are smart, have amazing eyesight and can quickly learn your techniques. Baboon will raid crop fields and eat all your food whilst deploying decoys and other advanced strategies when dealing with people.


Lions tend to spend the day in the protected area and “come out” at night to kill livestock in poor stockades. Often, livestock are grazed in the protected areas during the day and lions have learnt that the sound of cow-bells means dinner. Adequate herding of livestock during the day and strong stockades at night can reduce the losses to lion by huge percentages


Elephant are the most widely spoken about source of conflict because they are very large, sometimes dangerous and can do a lot of damage to a field in a single night. They are very intelligent, but much success can be made with adaptive mitigation methods including chilli bombs and fences and bee-hive fences.

We are all companions and we, as humans, must be innovative in finding ways to not only survive, but thrive together.

Our Logo

The Soft Foot Alliance logo shows the mammalian species that come into conflict locally:

  1. Honey Badgers
  2. Spotted Hyenas
  3. Baboons
  4. Lions
  5. Elephants and
  6. Humans

Our Projects

Natural Building

Building and developing in ways that care for the earth is a big part of our work. We are learning and teaching ways of building that are designed using natural materials.

Are you ready to help?