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Employing Novel Approaches in the Study of Human-Elephant Conflicts along the Eastern Boundary of Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania

2011Employing novel approaches in the study of Human-Elephant conflicts along the Eastern Boundary of Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania.KABEPELE Joram Ponjoli (Tanzania, United Republic Of)
Organisation:University of Poitiers, Poitiers (FR) - Udzungwa Mountains National Park (Tanzania)Supervisor :Didier Bouchon (UP)
Summary: Elephants are regarded as special species economically and ecologically. They are also regarded as the most dangerous species on human-wildlife conflicts lists. They damage crops forcing people to retaliate by either killing or injuring the elephants. This radically threatens long-term plans for elephant conservation. This study focused on understanding human-elephant conflicts by determining 1) the spatial and temporal distribution of elephant crop-raiding incidences, 2) the age, sex, and identity of crop-raiding elephants using visual assessment methods, camera-trapping, dung-diameter measurements and genetics, and 3) the types and extent of raided crops on the eastern side of Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania. The study has found that relative distance between villages and protected area boundaries is not always an important factor in understanding human-elephant conflicts. The identification of commonly used elephant trails may be crucial when analyzing spatial variation in crop-raiding incidence between villages in mountain settings (a “Funnel Effect”). Seasonality is not always a significant factor in predicting crop-raiding patterns. Types of farming such as irrigation may factor into crop-raiding dynamics. Consistent with other studies on human-elephant conflict, this study has found that adult and sub-adult males form the biggest proportion of crop-raiders.