An experimental test of community-based strategies for mitigating human-wildlife conflict around protected areas
Long, Ryan et al. (2019), An experimental test of community-based strategies for mitigating human-wildlife conflict around protected areas, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m63xsj3xd
Natural habitats are rapidly being converted to cultivated croplands, and crop-raiding by wildlife threatens both wildlife conservation and human livelihoods worldwide. We combined movement data from GPS-collared elephants with camera-trap data and local reporting systems in a before-after-control-impact design to evaluate community-based strategies for reducing crop raiding outside Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. All types of experimental fences tested (beehive, chili, beehive and chili combined, and procedural controls) significantly reduced the number of times elephants left the Park to raid crops. However, placing beehive fences at a subset of key crossing locations reduced the probability that elephants would leave the Park by up to 95% relative to unfenced crossings, and was the most effective strategy. Beehive fences also created opportunities for income generation via honey production. Our results provide experimental evidence that working with local communities to modify both animal behavior and human attitudes can mitigate conflict at the human-wildlife interface.