Living with the modern conservation paradigm: Can agricultural communities co-exist with elephants? A five-year case study in East Caprivi, Namibia

Caitlin E. O'Connell-Rodwell, Timothy Rodwell, Matthew Rice, Lynette A Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

The economic impact of elephants, Loxodonta africana, and predators, particularly lions, Panthera leo, on rural agriculturists in the Kwando region of the East Caprivi, Namibia was assessed from the years 1991 to 1995. Elephants were responsible for the greatest number of wildlife conflicts in the region, while lions had the greatest financial impact on farmers. Attempts were made to reduce conflicts between elephants and farmers using deterrents such as electrical fencing, trip-alarm techniques and elephant warning calls. Success of deterrents depended on the frequency of exposure to elephants, maintenance and the ecology of both humans and elephants in the region. Of the deterrent strategies explored, only electrical fencing reduced elephant damage at the community level. The future efficacy of electric fencing is uncertain, however, if elephants do not associate it with fear and possible death. Deterrent efforts played a role in improving relations between communities and conservationists. Scenarios for how human agricultural communities might co-exist with free-ranging elephants are discussed. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-391
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2000

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Community-based conservation
  • Elephant
  • Lion
  • Wildlife conflicts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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