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Western Kentucky University (2022)

Alleviating Human-Elephant Conflict Through Deterrent Fences and Environmental Monitoring in Southern Kenya

Corde, Sophia Carmen

Titre : Alleviating Human-Elephant Conflict Through Deterrent Fences and Environmental Monitoring in Southern Kenya

Auteur : Corde, Sophia Carmen

Université de soutenance : Western Kentucky University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2022

Résumé partiel
Human-wildlife conflict is present across the world. In areas where human settlements overlap with elephant habitats, human-elephant conflict can result from crop raiding events, compromising farmers’ food and economic security, and putting humans and elephants in danger through farmer retaliation. Elephants raid crops primarily at night, when detection by humans is lowest, and during the dry season, as crops are developing towards harvest and natural forage quality drops. People living in these areas facing HEC have developed mitigation strategies to lessen the impacts and move towards coexistence. As a team member on the Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya project, I conducted my research in the Kasigau Wildlife Corridor of southeastern Kenya. Over the past five years (2017-2022), our international team tested the effectiveness of eight deterrent fence designs, including four modern single deterrents (one line of deterrent strung between fence posts), three modern double deterrents (two strands of single deterrents), and one traditional deterrent (acacia branches). Each fence consisted of one or more negative stimuli to deter elephants, and any deterrent was hypothesized to perform better than the grand control of just fence posts alone. Compared to single deterrents, double deterrent fences were hypothesized to deter elephants better because they stimulate more sensory modalities. We also examined timing within the crop season and moon phase as potential predictors of crop raiding events. Elephant presence around experimental fields was hypothesized to be higher during the end of the crop season and inversely related with lunar light levels. To test these four hypotheses, eight blocks of land were leased from farmers along the boundary between Sasenyi Village and Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. Four of the eight blocks were divided into eight fields each around which four experimental deterrent fences and their matching four controls were erected. The other four blocks were each divided in half with one half encompassed by a beehive fence and the other by fake hives. Moon phase and timing within the crop season were determined using a lunar calendar, camera trap evidence, and crop data.

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Page publiée le 27 décembre 2022