Community-based human-elephant conflict mitigation: The value of an evidence-based approach in promoting the uptake of effective methods
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Abstract© 2017 Gunaryadi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is a serious threat to elephants and can cause major economic losses. It is widely accepted that reduction of HEC will often require community-based methods for repelling elephants but there are few tests of such methods. We tested community-based crop-guarding methods with and without novel chili-based elephant deterrents and describe changes in farmers' willingness to adopt these methods following our demonstration of their relative effectiveness. In three separate field-trials that took place over almost two years (October 2005-May 2007) in two villages adjacent to Way Kambas National Park (WKNP) in Indonesia, we found that community-based crop-guarding was effective at keeping Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) out of crop fields in 91.2% (52 out of 57), 87.6% (156 out of 178), and 80.0% (16 out of 20) of attempted raids. Once the method had been shown to be effective at demonstration sites, farmers in 16 villages around WKNP voluntarily adopted it during the July 2008 to March 2009 period and were able to repel elephants in 73.9% (150 out of 203) of attempted raids, with seven villages repelling 100% of attempted raids. These 16 villages had all experienced high levels of HEC in the preceding years; e.g. they accounted for >97% of the 742 HEC incidents recorded for the entire park in 2006. Our work shows, therefore, that a simple evidence-based approach can facilitate significant reductions in HEC at the protected area scale.
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