published: 11 January 2019
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 1January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Matt W. Hayward,
University of Newcastle, Australia
Sarah-Anne Jeanetta Selier,
South African National Biodiversity
Institute, South Africa
Mirko Di Febbraro,
University of Molise, Italy
Kusum J. Naithani
This article was submitted to
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Received: 29 June 2018
Accepted: 19 December 2018
Published: 11 January 2019
Shaffer LJ, Khadka KK, Van Den
Hoek J and Naithani KJ (2019)
Human-Elephant Conﬂict: A Review of
Current Management Strategies and
Front. Ecol. Evol. 6:235.
Human-Elephant Conﬂict: A Review
of Current Management Strategies
and Future Directions
L. Jen Shaffer 1, Kapil K. Khadka 2, Jamon Van Den Hoek 3and Kusum J. Naithani 2
1Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States, 2Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, United States, 3Geography and Geospatial Science, College of Earth, Atmospheric,
and Oceanic Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, United States
Human-elephant conﬂict is a major conservation concern in elephant range countries.
A variety of management strategies have been developed and are practiced at different
scales for preventing and mitigating human-elephant conﬂict. However, human-elephant
conﬂict remains pervasive as the majority of existing prevention strategies are driven
by site-speciﬁc factors that only offer short-term solutions, while mitigation strategies
frequently transfer conﬂict risk from one place to another. Here, we review current
human-elephant conﬂict management strategies and describe an interdisciplinary
conceptual approach to manage species coexistence over the long-term. Our proposed
model identiﬁes shared resource use between humans and elephants at different
spatial and temporal scales for development of long-term solutions. The model also
highlights the importance of including anthropological and geographical knowledge to
ﬁnd sustainable solutions to managing human-elephant conﬂict.
Keywords: coupled-natural-human systems, human-elephant conﬂict, human-wildlife conﬂict, land management,
resource management, species coexistence, wildlife conservation
Expansion of human settlements and agricultural ﬁelds across Asia and Africa has resulted
in widespread loss of elephant habitat, degraded forage, reduced landscape connectivity, and
a signiﬁcant decline in elephant populations relative to their historical size and overall range
(Thouless et al., 2016; Calabrese et al., 2017). As their habitats shrink, elephants are progressively
forced into closer contact with people, resulting in more frequent and severe conﬂict over
space and resources with consequences ranging from crop raiding to reciprocal loss of life (e.g.,
Leimgruber et al., 2003; Newmark, 2008; Mcdonald et al., 2009; Western et al., 2009; White
and Ward, 2011; Liu et al., 2017). Human-elephant conﬂict has become a threat to biodiversity
conservation, and the management of such conﬂict is a primary goal for elephant conservation
in range countries. Growing understandings of wildlife behavior and spatio-temporal patterns of
human-wildlife conﬂict have led to the suggestion, development, and adoption of a wide variety
of prevention and mitigation approaches (e.g., Fernando et al., 2005; Gubbi, 2012; Baruch-Mordo
et al., 2013; Hoare, 2015). Current conﬂict management approaches focus on prevention through
exclusion and on-site deterrents, and mitigation via elephant translocation or selective culling and
monetary compensation for losses. However, these management approaches merely address the
symptoms, rather than the underlying drivers of human-elephant conﬂict associated with cultural
values, resource use decision-making, and the increasing fragmentation and isolation of elephant
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
Long-term resolution of human-elephant conﬂict and
promotion of peaceful coexistence requires a simultaneous
focusing of management eﬀorts on site-speciﬁc considerations as
well as the formulation and application of strategic plans at the
landscape level that directly address underlying anthropogenic
drivers and their spatio-temporal variation. We suggest that
just as wildlife needs are measured and modeled to improve
conservation management planning, information about cultural
values, norms, and decision-making regarding the spatial
and temporal use of habitat to support local livelihoods and
household production are also valuable. This sociocultural
component of human-elephant conﬂict, while addressed by
anthropologists, human geographers, and other social scientists,
has not been eﬀectively integrated into previous conﬂict
management models. A coupled natural and human systems
approach oﬀers a potential framework for understanding the
interaction of human and elephant behavior and resource use
at the landscape level. In this paper, we highlight various costs
associated with human and elephant conﬂict and discuss the
limitations of current prevention and mitigation approaches.
Finally, we oﬀer a model to guide future research that supports
long-term solutions for sustainable land management decisions
and promotes peaceful coexistence of humans and elephants.
ELEPHANT SPECIES’ RANGE AND
The Elephantidae family once ranged across the American,
European, Asian, and African continents, but now only
occurs in parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1)
(Thouless et al., 2016; Calabrese et al., 2017). The International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists extant Asian
elephants (Elephas maximus) as endangered, and African
savanna (Loxodonta africana) and forest (L. cyclotis) elephant
species as vulnerable (IUCN, 2017). The population of Asian
elephants is estimated at 41,410 to 52,345 individuals scattered
among fragmented habitats in 13 range countries in Asia,
and currently occupying 5% of their historic geographic range
(Sukumar, 2006). The population of African elephants is much
larger; estimated at 550,000 to 700,000 individuals living in 37
range countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet more than 70% of the
geographic range is unprotected and poaching for the illegal ivory
trade continues to decimate Africa’s elephant populations (Chase
et al., 2016). India holds the largest population of Asian elephants
(60% of total population), while Botswana and Zimbabwe have
the largest populations of African elephants (combined 47% of
the continental population) (Choudhury et al., 2008; Chase et al.,
2016; Thouless et al., 2016).
Elephants are long-lived animals, and their survival depends
upon regular migration over large distances to search for
food, water, and social and reproductive partners (Sukumar,
2003; Whyte, 2012). As a generalist mega-herbivore, elephants
consume a maximum of 150 kg of forage and 190 L of water
daily (Vancuylenberg, 1977; Sukumar, 2003). Meeting these basic
needs requires a large foraging area to provide a variety of
grasses, shrubs, and tree leaves, roots, and fruits. A typical
family herd of Asian elephants (∼5–20 individuals) has a
home range size of 100–1,000 km2(Fernando and Lande,
2000; Williams et al., 2001; Alfred et al., 2012); while an
African elephant family herd ranges over an area 11–500 km2
(Shannon et al., 2006; Thomas et al., 2008). As they range and
feed, elephants aﬀect the surrounding biodiversity. Researchers
have found strong correlations between the loss of Asian
elephants and reduced dispersal and survival of seeds for large-
fruiting trees at a protected area (PA) in India, indicating an
engineering inﬂuence of elephants on forested ecosystems in Asia
(Fritz, 2017; Sekar et al., 2017). Long-term research in African
savannas and forested areas documents the keystone role of
African elephants in shaping surrounding landscapes through
feeding activities that damage tree canopies, uproot small trees
and shrubs, and disperse seeds (Kohi et al., 2011; Coverdale
et al., 2016; Fritz, 2017). Given their keystone role, wider
biodiversity conservation goals require maintaining healthy
populations of elephants throughout their ranges in Asia and
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF
Human-elephant conﬂict is a major challenge for supporting the
survival and persistence of elephants in their range countries
because these are places where the development and well-being of
human communities sharing space with these mega-herbivores
is also important. As humans transform the landscape, pushing
human and elephant populations to live in ever closer proximity,
the likelihood of conﬂict increases with often fatal results. India
alone reports annual deaths of 400 people and 100 elephants
during conﬂict incidents, with additional direct eﬀects to 500,000
families through crop raiding (MOEF, 2010). Sri Lanka annually
documents over 70 human and 200 elephant mortalities from
conﬂict (Santiapillai et al., 2010; Fernando and Pastorini, 2011).
Illegal poaching for the ivory trade complicates calculations for
elephant losses in Africa. However, Kenya reports that 50–120
problem elephants are shot by wildlife authorities each year and
that about 200 people died in human-elephant conﬂict between
2010 and 2017 (Mariki et al., 2015). Other Asian and African
range countries document similar or worse consequences (e.g.,
Graham et al., 2009a; Saaban et al., 2011; Webber et al., 2011;
Tchamba and Foguekem, 2012; Chen et al., 2013; Mariki et al.,
2015; Sarker et al., 2015; Acharya et al., 2016; Pant et al., 2016).
Elephant conservation eﬀorts have thus expanded their focus
over time from reducing habitat damage and loss of elephant
lives to ivory poaching and traﬃcking to managing the potential
for human-elephant conﬂict resulting from increased space and
resource competition (Caughley, 1976; Douglas-Hamilton, 1987;
Caughley et al., 1990; Kangwana, 1995; Sukumar, 2006; Hoare,
Many of the world’s 1.2 billion people who live on <$1.25 USD
per day reside in Asian and African elephant range countries.
These regions are also experiencing human population growth
of 1–3% per year in Asia and 1–3.5% per year in sub-Saharan
Africa (World Bank, 2018). As some of the planet’s poorest
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 2January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
FIGURE 1 | Map of global elephant species ranges. Land cover based on mode value of 500-m resolution NASA MODIS Land Cover Type product (MCD12Q1),
2000–2016. (Elephant population data from Friedl et al., 2010; IUCN, 2017).
people, these marginalized communities increasingly compete
with other species, like elephants, for space and resources. Low-
income subsistence farmers often live near forests and PAs due
to limited arable land, minimal to no irrigation access, and
cultural ties to PA landscapes. Accessing resources in these forests
and PAs supports a more diversiﬁed livelihood portfolio and
oﬀers subsistence households resources to meet their basic needs
(Riddle et al., 2010; Angelsen et al., 2014; Babigumira et al., 2014).
Additionally, many rural communities move closer to more
permanent water sources during dry periods to ensure stable
water access for their household needs, crops, and livestock.
Yet competition for increasingly scarce water sources and other
resources during and/or after droughts increases the risk of
conﬂict between elephants and humans (Osborn, 2004; Ntumi
et al., 2005; Graham et al., 2009a; Shaﬀer and Naiene, 2011;
Sitienei et al., 2014; Mariki et al., 2015). Poverty also reduces
household coping ability and adaptive capacity to respond to
harvest losses by crop-raiding elephants (Eriksen and Silva, 2009;
Snyman, 2014; Nsonsi et al., 2017), which further undermines
conservation eﬀorts by engendering animosity and intolerance
Similar to elephants, humans are also ecosystem engineers and
greatly inﬂuence their surrounding landscape. Their livelihood
activities limit elephant home range and population density
through direct and indirect competition for water, food, and
space (de Beer and van Aarde, 2008; Alfred et al., 2012;
Hoare, 2015; Bi et al., 2016). Research in Zimbabwe suggests
that elephant populations will co-exist to varying degrees
with human communities until a threshold of about 15–20
people/km2is reached (Hoare and Du Toit, 1999). At this
point, the habitat loss and fragmentation accrued from a 40–
50% transformation of the landscape for human livelihood
activity use renders the area unﬁt for elephants. Farmers and
pastoralists alter biophysical dynamics and habitat patterns
through subsistence agricultural production and management
of key natural resources (Shaﬀer, 2010; McHale et al., 2013).
Cutting trees and burning to clear land for agricultural expansion
and improve livestock forage may draw elephants to patches
of new vegetative growth (Shaﬀer, 2010; Babigumira et al.,
2014). Planting ﬁelds adjacent to water sources and digging
holes to access groundwater may alter elephant migration routes.
Fencing agricultural areas and PAs to minimize crop raiding
and protect vegetation from grazing and trampling intensiﬁes
livestock grazing in human settlement areas and elephant
feeding inside PAs, while restricting movement of both humans
and elephants (Campos-Arceiz et al., 2008; Guldemond and
Van Aarde, 2008; Riddle et al., 2010). The combined results
of these livelihood activities conﬁne elephant herds to small
patches of minimally-developed lands and PAs that restrict
natural migration patterns, increasingly deprive elephants of
their preferred forage, and contribute to biodiversity losses
in small to medium-sized PAs due to concentrated elephant
Habitat fragmentation fuels human-elephant conﬂict
potential, as roads and farms surrounding fragmented feeding
grounds are more conﬂict prone (Fernando et al., 2005). In
the most common form of human-elephant conﬂict, crop-
raiding elephants forage in agricultural ﬁelds to meet dietary
requirements (e.g., Sukumar, 1990; Williams et al., 2001; Sitati
et al., 2003; Graham et al., 2010; Sitienei et al., 2014; Goswami
et al., 2015; Liu et al., 2016). Growing evidence suggests that crop
raiding peaks near harvest time, potentially provoking retaliatory
killings in response to high crop losses that threaten the survival
of farming households (Chen et al., 2006; Graham et al., 2010;
Webber et al., 2011; Gubbi, 2012). Although crop depredation
and human casualties are the most commonly reported and
publicized costs of conﬂict (Ngure, 1995; Lahm, 1996; He et al.,
2011; Nath et al., 2015), hidden costs in the form of diminished
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 3January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
psychosocial well-being and disrupted social activities raise
additional concerns (Jadhav and Barua, 2012; Barua et al., 2013).
These physical and hidden costs make it diﬃcult to impossible
for people to develop an appreciation for and tolerance of
elephants living in their community.
CONFLICT PREVENTION AND MITIGATION
Conﬂict Prevention Strategies
Much of the eﬀort aimed at addressing conﬂict has focused
on prevention by keeping humans and elephants separated. In
this section, we ﬁrst describe exclusionary methods. We then
discuss additional methods commonly used by land managers
and farmers to prevent conﬂict. Although we review methods
individually; in practice, managers frequently combine multiple
techniques, and change strategies over time as elephants will test
enacted measures to gain access to desired resources.
Protected areas and ecological corridors
Through the establishment of PAs and eﬀorts of conservationists
and wildlife managers, wildlife conservation has become
synonymous with the physical separation of humans and wildlife
(Rodrigues et al., 2004; Hansen and DeFries, 2007). Ecological
corridors stitch together fragmented habitat and isolated PAs,
facilitate connectivity between herds, oﬀer demographic rescue
eﬀects, and enhance gene ﬂow (Brown and Kodric-Brown,
1977; Hanski, 1998; Blanc, 2008; Rabinowitz and Zeller, 2010).
Corridors that account for the ecological needs and ethological
characteristics of both humans and elephants help to prevent
human-elephant conﬂict by providing elephants additional
routes for seasonal migration and assisting ranging behavior
for resources and water (Adams et al., 2017). While ecological
corridors are gaining popularity in Asia and Africa (Roever
et al., 2013; Pittiglio et al., 2014; Adams et al., 2017; Puyravaud
et al., 2017), development pressures and infrastructure expansion
in or surrounding elephant ranges are commonly executed
without concern for ecological impact, resulting in opposition
to plans for, and needs of, corridor construction (Johnsingh and
Williams, 1999; Pan et al., 2009). Moreover, ecological corridors,
or even fencing for a PA, may contribute to “green grabbing,”
whereby subsistence farmers lose access to privately-owned or
communally-held arable lands along elephant migration routes
that are fenced oﬀ to reduce conﬂict between humans and
elephants without fair compensation (Fairhead et al., 2012;
Thakholi, 2016). Thus, a more robust understanding of human-
driven land use change and a greater concern for its impacts on
elephant habitat, connectivity, and migratory patterns needs to
Electric fences and trenches
Physical exclusion methods such as electric fences and trenches
are commonly used to deter elephants from entering farmland
and human settlements. Substantial costs of construction
and long-term maintenance confer challenges for larger scale
application of these physical barriers, especially in fragmented
landscapes with high forest/farm frontage (Kioko et al., 2008;
Perera, 2009; Wijayagunawardane et al., 2016). Long-term
eﬀectiveness may be further hindered by design, responses to
reports of fence breaks and fence-breaking animals, and overall
PA enforcement and management (Graham et al., 2009b; Massey
et al., 2014). Studies show that once African elephants learn
that their tusks do not conduct electricity, they may use their
tusks to break an enclosing electric fence, resulting in costly
damage to the fence (Graham et al., 2009a; Mutinda et al.,
2014). Physical barriers also negatively aﬀect long-term survival
by further isolating already fragmented elephant populations,
disrupting movement, and access to seasonal food and water
resources, and impeding gene ﬂow between herds (Lee and
Graham, 2006). Fencing eﬀectiveness remains largely unexplored
Farmers guard crops and scare away crop-raiding elephants by
yelling, setting oﬀ ﬁrecrackers or carbide cannons, hitting metal
objects, and throwing stones (Nyhus et al., 2000; Fernando et al.,
2005; Gunaryadi et al., 2017). These techniques are eﬀective in
keeping elephants away from crops (Hedges and Gunaryadi,
2010; Davies et al., 2011), but they disrupt psychosocial well-
being and livelihood activities of farmers (Tchamba, 1996; Nath
et al., 2009; Jadhav and Barua, 2012; Barua et al., 2013). High tech
acoustic deterrents remain problematic too. Audio playbacks
of threatening sounds like wild cat growls, human shouts, and
vocalizations from elephant matriarchal groups have only been
tested as short-term and short-distance elephants repellents
(Thuppil and Coss, 2016; Wijayagunawardane et al., 2016). Some
studies show that elephants quickly learn to tolerate these sounds
and return to raid crops (Sikes, 1971; Moss, 1988). Moreover,
the installation and regular monitoring and maintenance of these
playback systems present logistical challenges in remote areas.
Although reportedly 65–100% eﬀective in the tests performed
(Thuppil and Coss, 2016), the potentially negative feedbacks of
audio playbacks on other species merit further assessment before
wider adoption (Gamage and Wijesundara, 2014; Zeppelzauer
et al., 2015). Recent studies in Africa show promising results
using bio-acoustic methods such as beehive fences to deter
elephants, and have the added beneﬁt of providing pollinators
and honey (King et al., 2011, 2017).
Farmers may light bonﬁres and use ﬂaming torches or ﬂashlights
to guard ripening crops and deter raiding elephants (Nyhus
et al., 2000; Fernando et al., 2005; Shaﬀer, 2010; Davies et al.,
2011). Solar spotlights, which are shone in elephants’ eyes to
drive them away from agricultural ﬁelds, have been tested on a
limited basis for communal ﬁelds; however, initial purchase costs
prevent widespread adoption by low-income rural households
and communities (Davies et al., 2011; Gunaryadi et al., 2017).
Like the acoustic methods, light-based deterrents are short-term
solutions which lose eﬀectiveness over the long-term as elephants
adapt to the deterrent or move to a diﬀerent location (Sukumar,
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 4January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
In comparison to exclusion, acoustic, and light methods,
agriculture-based deterrents like chili-grease covered fences and
chili dung have had limited testing and use (Graham et al.,
2009a; Hedges and Gunaryadi, 2010; Chang’a et al., 2016).
Existing ﬁeld tests show wide variation in the eﬀectiveness of
chili deterrents from no eﬀect to some reduction of crop-raiding
(Sitati and Walpole, 2006; Graham et al., 2009a; Hedges and
Gunaryadi, 2010). Furthermore, high costs for application and
maintenance make this technique economically prohibitive for
many communities (Baishya et al., 2012). Another agriculture-
based deterrent involves the spatial strategy of interspersing
commonly raided crops with crops that are less attractive
or palatable to elephants (Santiapillai and Read, 2010; Gross
et al., 2016, 2017). In addition to serving as repellents, these
alternative crops including chamomile, coriander, mint, ginger,
onion, garlic, lemongrass, and citrus trees can economically
beneﬁt farmers by compensating for reduced cultivation of main
crops. While fences smeared with chili powder and small-scale
cultivation of elephant-unfriendly unpalatable crops to buﬀer
out crop raiding elephants from main crops are the commonly
reported form of agriculture-based deterrents (Osborn, 2002;
Chang’a et al., 2016), commercial cultivations of chilis and other
less attractive crops in large scale do not appear to be tested
yet. Besides driving away the elephants because of their repellant
nature, such large-scale cultivation could beneﬁt the farmers
economically (Parker and Osborn, 2006). Buying back guarantee
of such commercially cultivated alternative crops is necessary,
however, for the continuity of the approach if functioned
eﬀectively. Regardless of scale of the cultivation of alternative
crops, they are yet highly likely to be trampled during the growing
stage. In general, economic losses from crop-raiding deserve
greater consideration, since proper and timely compensation
could contribute to an increased tolerance toward elephants and
acceptance of agriculture-based deterrents (Gross et al., 2017).
Early detection and warning
Techniques for early detection and warning of elephants involve
using mobile phones for quick communication among farmers,
and between farmers and local oﬃcials, to facilitate cooperation
in driving away potentially problematic elephants (Graham et al.,
2012). Early warning systems may also incorporate the placement
of detectors at conﬂict-prone locations to monitor infrasonic
calls that elephants use to enable detection and localization
of individuals over long distances (Venkataraman et al., 2005;
Poshitha et al., 2015; Zeppelzauer et al., 2015). These devices,
however, require internet connectivity or network coverage
to transfer alerts to farmers, which limits the practicality of
infrasonic receivers in remote areas (Poshitha et al., 2015).
Similarly, satellite tracking of radio-collared elephants facilitates
early warning of potentially problematic individuals and herds
(Venkataraman et al., 2005). While collected data are helpful
for understanding the movement patterns and habitat selection
of elephants, the value of satellite tracking in human-elephant
conﬂict prevention is thus far limited due to the initial challenges
of capturing and collaring elephants, and sometimes considerable
subscription costs for regular data transfer to research facilities.
Conﬂict Mitigation Strategies
After a human-elephant conﬂict event, aﬀected farmers, and local
communities may demand a response from government agencies
or non-governmental organizations that deal with elephant
conservation to mitigate future conﬂict. Below, we ﬁrst review
the domestication, culling, and translocation of problematic
individual elephants or herds. We then discuss conﬂict mitigation
programs that economically compensate farmers for lost crops or
Domestication practices in Asia have long served to remove
or reduce human-elephant conﬂict pressures. Although Asian
elephants can breed in captivity, it is preferred to capture
and train wild females (Clutton-Brock, 2012). Once captured
and domesticated, Asian elephants have integrated into human
society serving in temples and at community festivities,
transporting people and heavy loads for agriculture, warfare, and
hunting, and helping to capture other wild elephants. Indian
records show that domestication practices date back to ∼4,500
BCE, and cave paintings suggest even earlier dates (Sukumar,
2008; Clutton-Brock, 2012). Asian elephant domestication
continues today although the practice is declining. History
documents Hannibal’s use of elephants to cross the Alps in 218
BCE, yet large-scale domestication of African elephants ended
around 2000 years ago(Sukumar, 2008; Clutton-Brock, 2012).
The loss of these positive human-elephant connections in local
communities and productive management of wild populations
likely contributes to human-elephant conﬂict and the associated
negativity toward species conservation. However, domestication
remains problematic as negative impacts on captive as well as
wild elephant welfare are well documented (Bist et al., 2002;
Leimgruber et al., 2008; Duﬀy and Moore, 2010; Mar et al., 2012)
and preferences for females may alter gene pools.
Consistently problematic elephants, including those that have
killed humans, are frequently culled to resolve resentments and
prevent future clashes and losses in communities in both Asia
and Africa. Contrary to Asia’s focus on domestication, the culling
of crop raiding elephants or those that kill humans has been
regularly practiced in Africa to manage elephant populations
and human-elephant conﬂict (Sukumar, 1991, 1992). African
culling practices have historic roots in both pre-Colonial and
Colonial elephant hunting, where the practice reduced resource
competition, supported food security by providing meat to
aﬀected communities, and oﬀered ivory for trade. As the African
ivory trade grew, culling for mitigation expanded into more
widespread killing of elephants for ivory in southern and eastern
Africa. By the late nineteenth century ivory hunting severely
reduced elephant populations and supported colonial settlement
and an expansion of agricultural cultivation (Ballard, 1981;
Beinart, 1990; Forssman et al., 2014).
Although current estimates of annually culled elephants are
largely unknown, selective culling of elephants is acceptable
and periodically practiced in many elephant range countries.
The eﬃcacy and necessity of culling for maintaining elephant
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 5January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
populations and mitigating conﬂict is controversial and
questionable, as culling mainly targets bull elephants because
of their wide territorial ranges that bring them close to human
settlements (Sukumar, 1991, 1992; van Aarde et al., 1999). Given
the endangered and/or vulnerable status of elephants, as well
as skewed sex ratio due to ivory poaching, culling potentially
degrades the genetic health of remaining albeit fragmented
Translocation involves the drugging, immobilization, and
transportation of problematic elephants from human settlements
or farms to PAs for release (Nyhus et al., 2000; Massei et al.,
2010; Saaban et al., 2011; Fernando et al., 2012). Although
the eﬃcacy and long-term feedbacks of elephant translocation
have not been extensively tested, initial results suggest that
translocated elephants often return to their original territory
and tend to propagate conﬂict around the release area while
returning toward their original home range (Pinter-Wollman,
2009; Fernando et al., 2012). Moreover, translocation often
undermines conservation goals because of increased elephant
mortality during capture and transportation, and sometimes
deliberate killing in the release area (Pinter-Wollman, 2009;
Fernando and Pastorini, 2011; Fernando et al., 2012).
More market-based strategies for mitigating human-elephant
conﬂict provide ﬁnancial compensation to those aﬀected. The
perceptions and attitudes of people who inhabit conﬂict-
prone areas are crucial to the management of human-elephant
conﬂicts (Adams and Hutton, 2007; Treves and Bruskotter,
2014), and oﬀsetting economic losses plays a major role
in building positive attitudes toward wildlife and fostering
tolerance toward elephants (Sodhi et al., 2010; Hartter and
Goldman, 2011; Brooks et al., 2013; Hartter et al., 2014;
Snyman, 2014). Requesting compensation involves reporting the
property damage and/or loss to park oﬃcials or an authorized
local body; followed by a visual assessment of damage by the
authorities. The lack of standardized assessment guidelines and
compensation approaches creates opportunities for conﬂict and
corruption (Ogra and Badola, 2008). Compensation schemes
often target the market price for victims’ crops and livestock
losses without recognition of opportunity costs of conﬂict
mitigation and transaction costs of getting compensation, or
the hidden costs of declined psychosocial and social well-being
(Hoare, 2000; Ogra, 2008). Diﬃculties also exist in placing
economic value on, and providing adequate compensation
for, humans injured or killed by elephants. Examples of
successful compensatory programs that increased tolerance
toward aggressive wildlife exist elsewhere (Nyhus et al., 2000;
Bruner et al., 2001), yet compensatory programs have not been
similarly successful for human-elephant conﬂict. In elephant
range countries, compensatory programs face often severe
criticism due to insuﬃcient compensation, logistical challenges,
ineﬀective governance, a lack of transparency, reduced local
understanding of program scope, and limitations, and fraudulent
claims (Naughton-Treves et al., 2003; Bulte and Rondeau, 2005;
Nyhus et al., 2005; Ogra and Badola, 2008; Nath et al., 2009).
Building on successful models, and with a knowledge of factors
leading to compensation program failures, future compensatory
programs should be adapted and strengthened for inclusion in a
suite of management tools. Yet, economic compensation for the
damage incurred does not address the underlying root causes of
the conﬂict, and thus do not appear to be a viable or sustainable
A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR REDUCING
AND MITIGATING HUMAN ELEPHANT
On-going and future changes to land use, conservation policy,
economic markets, and climate challenge the eﬃcacy of current
human-elephant conﬂict prevention and mitigation strategies.
These and other disturbances increase the dependency of both
species on a shared but shrinking resource base (Otiang’a-Owiti
et al., 2011; Im et al., 2017). Eﬀective strategic planning that
seeks to support the mutual well-being of humans and elephants
centers on their coexistence rather than their conﬂict, addresses
underlying conﬂict drivers and their spatial variation, and
considers the intersecting and evolving needs of both humans
and elephants (Peterson et al., 2010; Chartier et al., 2011;
Madhusudan et al., 2015; Dubois et al., 2017). Building on
prior work, we contribute a conceptual model (Figure 2) of a
coupled natural and human systems approach that focuses on
promoting peaceful co-existence and reducing conﬂict through
landscape-level planning informed by open-data and tools along
with ethnographic data and community-based education and
mitigation approaches. Our model draws upon theories and
analytical methods from anthropology, ecology, geography,
remote sensing, climate science, and spatial statistics to assess
the needs of both humans and elephants, as well as the spatio-
temporal variability of the resources on which both species
Given the central role of resource competition in human-
elephant conﬂict, our model highlights patterns of water
and vegetation quality and quantity across space and time.
Precipitation events and processes such as storms, seasonal
climate patterns, interannual cycles, and long-term climate
changes underpin natural landscape dynamics by driving
changes to surface and groundwater sources including lakes,
rivers, and aquifers. Seasonal climate parameters including
precipitation, temperature, and photosynthetically active
radiation aﬀect vegetation patterns across the landscape, while
external disturbances like global climate changes will shift
landscape vegetation dynamics over the long-term. Greenness
and the location of preferred vegetation and speciﬁc plant
species, along with surface water availability, inﬂuences land use
and species’ movement as elephants migrate seeking food and
water and humans pursue livelihood activities.
Local, national, and international policies regarding land use
and resource conservation regulate the location and intensity
of human livelihood activities like subsistence agriculture,
pastoralism, and foraging, as well as the resources accessed
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 6January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
FIGURE 2 | Human and elephant population variables drawn from a multitude of coupled system components and processes. Additional information for variables is
provided in the text.
for these activities by households and communities. Resource
preferences for particular types of wild plant materials, potable
water sources, and arable, fertile soil also inﬂuence household
decision-making about livelihood activities and locations.
Pressing globalization forces connected to and through local
markets aﬀect supply, demand, and prices for foods and
other goods that cannot be produced at the household level.
Policy creation and market shifts act as pulse disturbances by
motivating local community adaptation to new resource use
regulations and access. Footpaths and roads link households
within and across communities, and the wider world. These paths
conduct goods and services, connect households to livelihood
practice spaces, and facilitate human, and sometimes elephant,
Biophysical processes and livelihood practices intersect with
species population dynamics to generate the conditions leading
to human-elephant conﬂict. Elephant herd sizes, densities,
growth rates, and regular movements directly impact conﬂict
locations, timing, and intensity (Goswami et al., 2014; Chen et al.,
2016; Goswami and Vasudev, 2017). This intensity includes the
perceived risks to human well-being, as well as the amount of
damage a household or community sustains and the ability to
sustain future conﬂict damage. Although conﬂict events often
unfold as pulsed disturbances in agricultural ﬁelds at the end of
the growing season, wild plant use or access of water sources
by elephants can also lead to conﬂict in situations where wild
plants or water sources are shared with humans. On the other side
of the conﬂict equation, human population dynamics directly
inﬂuence land use and resource access during livelihood activities
as a form of press disturbance, although burn practices to
manage landscapes are pulse events. Historic shifts to livelihood
practices due to sociocultural, economic, political, climate, and
biophysical changes inform decision-making about land use
and resource access, conﬂict responses, perceived risks, and
ultimately the sustainability of any plans undertaken to reduce
or prevent future conﬂict. Site speciﬁc information regarding
perceptions of elephants and the costs of conﬂict identify areas
where mitigation and educational programs may be reconﬁgured
or new opportunities introduced that allow communities to
beneﬁt from an elephant presence to build tolerance and increase
appreciation for elephants. Acquiring this information requires
an objective, “boots on the ground” approach to observe and
learn about community needs and decision-making practices,
as well as identify residents that can lead the co-development,
co-implementation, and co-management of long-term, conﬂict
reduction strategies in their communities.
Conservation and long-term sustainability of co-existing
human and elephant populations therefore depends upon the
adaptive capacity, resilience, and vulnerability of a variety of
biophysical and social components, and the processes that link
them together, within a coupled natural and human system.
Our conceptual model focuses on resource competition and the
resulting conﬂict for water, food, and space between humans and
elephants. It also addresses press and pulse disturbance processes
inﬂuencing this human-elephant resource competition (Collins
et al., 2011). Once conﬂict hotspots and areas of shared
resource use are identiﬁed through landscape modeling that
integrates natural and human systems information, alternative
strategies may be proposed. Strategies could include digging
new wells and installing bore holes for human communities
or creating new water sources along known elephant migration
paths that could divert these animals away from human
areas, to support adequate water access during dry periods.
Communities could work with government agencies and NGOs
to co-develop policies and programs that protect important
elephant range areas and ecological corridors while supporting
human well-being by oﬀering new economic opportunities and
ensuring access to culturally important resources in a sustainable
Human-elephant conﬂict remains a signiﬁcant problem for
many communities in Asia and Africa, threatens human
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 7January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
lives, livelihoods, and local communities, and drives habitat
degradation and elephant population declines. Current
strategies to manage human-elephant conﬂict largely focus
on either physical separation, or mitigating the problem by
domesticating, translocating, or culling problematic elephants
and/or compensating farmers. While these tools remain
important conﬂict management strategies, the majority appear
to be driven by short-term, site-speciﬁc factors that often transfer
the problems of human-elephant conﬂict from one place to
another. In this paper, we reviewed causes and consequences of
human-elephant conﬂict, and current approaches to preventing
and mitigating human-elephant conﬂict. We then proposed a
conceptual model that recognizes the competition for water,
land, and plant resources between these species, and seeks
to identify conﬂict hotspots and alternative resource access
options for eﬀective land management now and in the future.
We highlighted the application of ecological, anthropological,
and geographical knowledge and tools for developing long-term
sustainable solutions to this complex problem, and hope our
conceptual model provides guidance for future research focus.
The diverse data needed to build out our conceptual
model require interdisciplinary cooperation to synthesize
multiple historic, contemporary, and projected datasets from
the biophysical and social sciences. While biophysical data may
already be in a form that readily lends itself to landscape
level modeling and planning, integration of ethnographic
information will likely involve more eﬀort including extensive
social science ﬁeldwork in conﬂict-prone communities. However,
understandings of how people living in or near conﬂict prone
areas use natural resources, and how they make decisions about
current and future resource use, remains key to addressing the
underlying drivers of human-elephant conﬂict and their spatial
variation. Without this knowledge, the task of resolving human-
elephant conﬂict and ﬁnding a means for these species to coexist
in the Anthropocene is sisyphean.
LS, KN, and JV designed the conceptual model, all authors
contributed equally to the writing of the manuscript.
Acharya, K. P., Paudel, P. K., Neupane, P. R., and Köhl M. (2016). Human-
wildlife conﬂicts in nepal: patterns of human fatalities and injuries caused
by large mammals. PLoS ONE 11:e0161717. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.01
Adams, T. S. F., Chase, M. J., Rogers, T. L., and Leggett, K. E. A. (2017). Taking
the elephant out of the room and into the corridor: can urban corridors work?
Oryx 51, 347–353. doi: 10.1017/S0030605315001246
Adams, W. M., and Hutton, J. (2007). People, parks and poverty: political ecology
and biodiversity conservation. Conserv. Soc. 5, 147–183. Available online at:
Alfred, R., Ahmad, A. H., Payne, J., Williams, C., Ambu, L. N., How,
P. M., et al. (2012). Home range and ranging behavior of bornean
elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) females. PLoS ONE 7:e31400.
Angelsen, A., Jagger, P., Babigumira, R., Belcher, B., Hogarth, N. J., Bauch,
S., et al. and Wunder, S. (2014). Environmental income and rural
livelihoods: a global-comparative analysis. World Dev. 64, S12–S28.
Babigumira, R., Angelsen, A., Buis, M., Bauch, S., Sunderland, T., and Wunder,
S. (2014). Forest clearing in rural livelihoods: household-level global-
comparative evidence. World Dev. 64, S67–S79. doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.
Baishya, H. K., Dey, S., Sarmah, A., Sharma, A., Gogoi, S., Aziz, T., et al. (2012).
Use of chilli fences to deter Asian elephants–a pilot study. Gajah 36, 11–13.
Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/proﬁle/Arif_Budiman10/
Habitat-and-Deforestation-in- WWF-Elephant- Priority-Landscapes.pdf#
Ballard, C. (1981). The Role of Trade and Hunter-Traders in the Political
Economy of Natal and Zululand, 1824-1880. Afr. Econ. Hist. 10, 3–21.
Barua, M., Bhagwat, S. A., and Jadhav, S. (2013). The hidden dimensions of
human–wildlife conﬂict: health impacts, opportunity and transaction costs.
Biol. Conserv. 157, 309–316. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.07.014
Baruch-Mordo, S., Webb, C. T., Breck, S. W., and Wilson, K. R. (2013).
Use of patch selection models as a decision support tool to evaluate
mitigation strategies of human–wildlife conﬂict. Biol. Conserv. 160, 263–271.
Beinart, W. (1990). Empire, hunting and ecological change in southern and central
Africa. Past Present 128, 162–186 doi: 10.1093/past/128.1.162
Bi, Y., Roy, A., Bhavsar, D., Xu, J., Wang, M., Wang, T., et al. (2016). Kamala
tree as an indicator of the presence of Asian elephants during the dry season
in the Shivalik landscape of northwestern India. Ecol. Indic. 71, 239–247.
Bist, S. S., Cheeran, J. V., Choudhury, S., Barua, P., and Misra, M. K. (2002).
“The domesticatedAsian elephant in India,” in Giants on Our Hands. Proc.
Int. Workshop on the Domesticated Asian Elephant, eds I. Baker, M. Kashio
(Bangkok: FAO Regional Oﬃce for Asia and the Paciﬁc), 129–148.
Blanc, J. (2008). Loxodonta africana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008:
e.T12392A3339343. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T12392A3339343.en
Brooks, J., Waylen, K. A., and Mulder, M. B. (2013). Assessing community-
based conservation projects: a systematic review and multilevel analysis of
attitudinal, behavioral, ecological, and economic outcomes. Environ. Evidence
2:2. doi: 10.1186/2047-2382-2-2
Brown, J. H., and Kodric-Brown, A. (1977). Turnover rates in insular
biogeography: eﬀect of immigration on extinction. Ecology 58, 445–449.
Bruner, A. G., Gullison, R. E., Rice, R. E., and da Fonseca, G. A., (2001).
Eﬀectiveness of Parks in Protecting Tropical Biodiversity. Science 291, 125–128.
Bulte, E. H., and Rondeau, D. (2005). Why compensating wildlife damages may
be bad for conservation. J. Wildlife Manage. 69, 14–19. doi: 10.2193/0022-
Calabrese, A., Calabrese, J. M., Songer, M., Wegmann, M., Hedges, S., Rose,
R., and Leimgruber, P. (2017). Conservation status of Asian elephants: the
inﬂuence of habitat and governance. Biodivers. Conserv. 26, 2067–2081.
Campos-Arceiz, A., Larrinaga, A. R., Weerasinghe, U. R., Takatsuki, S., Pastorini,
J., Leimgruber, P., et al. (2008). Behavior rather than diet mediates seasonal
diﬀerences in seed dispersal by Asian elephants. Ecology 89, 2684–2691
Caughley, G. (1976). The elephant problem–an alternative hypothesis. Afr. J. Ecol.
14, 265–283. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.1976.tb00242.x
Caughley, G., Dublin, H., and Parker, I. (1990). Projected decline of the African
elephant. Biol. Conserv. 54, 157–164. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(90)90140-K
Chang’a, A., de, N. S., Muya, J., Keyyu, J., and Mwakatobe, A., Malugu,
L., et al. (2016). Scaling-up the use of chili fences for reducing human-
elephant conﬂict across landscapes in tanzania. Trop. Conserv. Sci. 9, 921–930.
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 8January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
Chartier, L., Zimmermann, A., and Ladle, R. J. (2011). Habitat loss and human–
elephant conﬂict in Assam, India: does a critical threshold exist? Oryx 45,
528–533. doi: 10.1017/S0030605311000044
Chase, M. J., Schlossberg, S., Griﬃn, C. R., Bouché, P. J., Djene, S. W., Elkan, P.
W., et al. (2016). Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African
savannah elephants. PeerJ 4:e2354. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2354
Chen, J., Deng, X., Zhang, L., and Bai, Z. (2006). Diet composition and foraging
ecology of Asian elephants in Shangyong, Xishuangbanna, China. Acta Ecol.
Sin. 26, 309–316. doi: 10.1016/S1872-2032(06)60006-1
Chen, S., Yi, Z.-F., Campos-Arceiz, A., Chen, M.-Y., and Webb, E. L.
(2013). Developing a spatially explicit, sustainable and risk-based insurance
scheme to mitigate human–wildlife conﬂict. Biol. Conserv. 168, 31–39.
Chen, Y., Marino, J., Chen, Y., Tao, Q., Sullivan, C. D., Shi, K., et al.
(2016). Predicting hotspots of human-elephant conﬂict to inform mitigation
strategies in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China. PLoS ONE 11:e0162035.
Choudhury, A., Choudhury, L., Desai, D. K., Duckworth, A., Easa, J. W.,
Johnsingh, P. S., et al. (2008). Elephas Maximus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. www.iucnredlist.org
Clutton-Brock, J. (2012). Animals as Domesticates: A World View Through History.
East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.
Collins, S. L., Carpenter, S. R., Swinton, S. M., Orenstein, D. E., Childers,
D. L., Gragson, T. L., et al. (2011). An integrated conceptual framework
for long-term social–ecological research. Front. Ecol. Environ. 9, 351–357.
Coverdale, T. C., Kartzinel, T. R., Grabowski, K. L., Shriver, R. K., Hassan, A.
A., Goheen, J. R., and Pringle, R. M. (2016). Elephants in the understory:
opposing direct and indirect eﬀects of consumption and ecosystem engineering
by megaherbivores. Ecology 97, 3219–3230. doi: 10.1002/ecy.1557
Davies, T. E.,Wilson, S., Hazarika, N., Chakrabarty, J., Das, D., Hodgson, D. J., et al.
(2011). Eﬀectiveness of intervention methods against crop-raiding elephants.
Conserv. Lett. 4, 346–354. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00182.x
de Beer, Y., and van Aarde, R. J. (2008). Do landscape heterogeneity and water
distribution explain aspects of elephant home range in southern Africa’s arid
savannas? J. Arid Environ. 72, 2017–2025. doi: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2008.07.002
Douglas-Hamilton, I. (1987). African elephants: population trends and their
causes. Oryx 21, 11–24. doi: 10.1017/S0030605300020433
Dubois, S., Fenwick, N., Ryan, E. A., Baker, L., Baker, S. E., Beausoleil, N. J., et al.
(2017). International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conserv.
Biol. 31, 753–760. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12896
Duﬀy, R., and Moore, L. (2010). Neoliberalising nature? Elephant
back tourism in Thailand and Botswana. Antipode 42, 742–766.
Eriksen, S., and Silva, J. A. (2009). The vulnerability context of a savanna area in
Mozambique: household drought coping strategies and responses to economic
change. Environ. Sci. Policy 12, 33–52. doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2008.10.007
Fairhead, J., Leach, M., and Scoones, I. (2012). Green Grabbing:
a new appropriation of nature? J. Peasant Stud. 39, 237–261.
Fernando, P., and Lande, R. (2000). Molecular genetic and behavioral analysis
of social organization in the asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Behav. Ecol.
Sociobiol. 48, 84–91. doi: 10.1007/s002650000218
Fernando, P., Leimgruber, P., Prasad, T., and Pastorini, J. (2012). Problem-elephant
translocation: translocating the problem and the elephant? PLoS ONE 7:e50917.
Fernando, P., and Pastorini, J. (2011). Range-wide status of Asian elephants.
Gajah 35, 15–20. Available online at:http://www.ccrsl.org/userobjects/2602_
Fernando, P., Wikramanayake, E., Weerakoon, D., Jayasinghe, L. K. A.,
Gunawardene, M., and Janaka, H. K. (2005). Perceptions and patterns
of human–elephant conﬂict in old and new settlements in Sri Lanka:
insights for mitigation and management. Biodiver. Conserv. 14, 2465–2481.
Forssman, T., Page, B., and Selier, J. (2014). How important was the presence of
elephants as a determinant of the Zhizo settlement of the greater Mapungubwe
landscape? J. Afr. Archaeol. 12, 75–87. doi: 10.3213/2191-5784-10250
Friedl, M. A., Sulla-Menashe, D., Tan, B., Schneider, A., Ramankutty, N., Sibley,
A., and Huang, X. (2010). MODIS Collection 5 global land cover: algorithm
reﬁnements and characterization of new datasets. Remote Sens. Environ. 114,
168–182. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2009.08.016
Fritz, H. (2017). Long-term ﬁeld studies of elephants: understanding the ecology
and conservation of a long-lived ecosystem engineer. J. Mammal. 98, 603–611.
Gamage, A., and Wijesundara, M. (2014). “A solution for the elephant-human
conﬂict,” in India Educators’ Conference (TIIEC),2014 Texas Instruments
Goswami, V. R., Medhi, K., Nichols, J. D., and Oli, M. K. (2015).
Mechanistic understanding of human–wildlife conﬂict through a novel
application of dynamic occupancy models. Conserv. Biol. 29, 1100–1110.
Goswami, V. R., and Vasudev, D. (2017). Triage of Conservation needs:
the juxtaposition of conﬂict mitigation and connectivity considerations
in heterogeneous, human-dominated landscapes. Front. Ecol. Evol. 4:144.
Goswami, V. R., Vasudev, D., and Oli, M. K. (2014). The importance of conﬂict-
induced mortality for conservation planning in areas of human–elephant
co-occurrence. Biol. Conserv. 176, 191–198. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.05.026
Graham, M. D., Adams, W. M., and Kahiro, G. N. (2012). Mobile phone
communication in eﬀective human elephant–conﬂict management in Laikipia
County, Kenya. Oryx 46, 137–144. doi: 10.1017/S0030605311001104
Graham, M. D., Douglas-Hamilton, I., Adams, W. M., and Lee, P. C. (2009a). The
movement of African elephants in a human-dominated land-use mosaic. Anim.
Conserv. 12, 445–455. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00272.x
Graham, M. D., Gichohi, N., Kamau, F., Aike, G., Craig, B., Douglas-Hamilton,
I., and Adams, W. M. (2009b). The Use of Electriﬁed Fences to Reduce Human
Elephant Conﬂict: A Case Study of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, (No. 1). Laikipia
Elephant Project Working Paper.
Graham, M. D., Notter, 440 B., Adams, W. M., Lee, P. C., and Ochieng, T. N.
(2010). Patterns of crop-raiding by elephants, Loxodonta africana, in Laikipia,
Kenya, and the management of human–elephant conﬂict. System. Biodivers. 8,
435–445. doi: 10.1080/14772000.2010.533716
Gross, E. M., Drouet-Hoguet, N., Subedi, N., and Gross, J. (2017). The
potential of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) to reduce crop
damages by Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus). Crop Protect. 100, 29–37.
Gross, E. M., McRobb, R., and Gross, J. (2016). Cultivating alternative crops
reduces crop losses due to African elephants. J. Pest Sci. 89, 497–506.
Gubbi, S. (2012). Patterns and correlates of human–elephant conﬂict
around a south Indian reserve. Biol. Conserv. 148, 88–95.
Guldemond, R., and Van Aarde, R. (2008). A meta-analysis of the impact of
African elephants on savanna vegetation. J. Wildl. Manage. 72, 892–899.
Gunaryadi, D., Sugiyo, and Hedges, S. (2017). Community-based human–
elephant conﬂict mitigation: the value of an evidence-based approach
in promoting the uptake of eﬀective methods. PLoS ONE 12:e0173742.
Hansen, A. J., and DeFries, R. (2007). Ecological Mechanisms Linking
Protected Areas to Surrounding Lands. Ecological Applications 17, 974–988.
Hanski, I. (1998). Metapopulation dynamics. Nature 396, 41–49.
Hartter, J., and Goldman, A. (2011). Local responses to a forest park in
western Uganda: alternate narratives on fortress conservation. Oryx 45, 60–68.
Hartter, J., Solomon, J., Ryan, S. J., Jacobson, S. K., and Goldman, A. (2014).
Contrasting perceptions of ecosystem services of an African forest park.
Environ. Conserv. 41, 330–340. doi: 10.1017/S0376892914000071
He, Q., Wu, Z., Zhou, W., and Dong, R. (2011). Perception and attitudes of
local communities towards wild elephant-related problems and conservation
in Xishuangbanna, southwestern China. Chinese Geographical Science 21:629.
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 9January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
Hedges, S., and Gunaryadi, D. (2010). Reducing human–elephant conﬂict: do
chillies help deter elephants from entering crop ﬁelds? Oryx 44, 139–146.
Hoare, R. (2000). African elephants and humans in conﬂict: the outlook for
co-existence. Oryx 34, 34–38. doi: 10.1017/S0030605300030878
Hoare, R. (2015). Lessons from 20 years of human–elephant
conﬂict mitigation in Africa. Hum. Dimens. Wildlife 20, 289–295.
Hoare, R. E., and Du Toit, J. T. (1999). Coexistence between people
and elephants in African Savannas. Conserv. Biol. 13, 633–639.
Im, E.S., Pal, J. S., and Eltahir, E. A. B. (2017). Deadly heat waves projected in
the densely populated agricultural regions of South Asia. Sci. Adv. 3:e1603322.
IUCN (2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Availble
online at: : www.iucnredlist.org (Accessed April 27, 2018).
Jadhav, S., and Barua, M. (2012). The elephant vanishes: impact of human–
elephant conﬂict on people’s well-being. Health Place 18, 1356–1365.
Johnsingh, A. J. T., and Williams, A. C. (1999). Elephant corridors in
India: lessons for other elephant range countries. Oryx 33, 210–214.
Kangwana, K. (1995). Human-elephant conﬂict: the challenge ahead. Pachyderm ,
King, L. E., Douglas-Hamilton, I., and Vollrath, F. (2011). Beehive fences as
eﬀective deterrents for crop-raiding elephants: ﬁeld trials in northern Kenya.
Afr. J. Ecol. 49, 431–439. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.2011.01275.x
King, L. E., Lala, F., Nzumu, H., Mwambingu, E., and Douglas-Hamilton, I.
(2017). Beehive fences as a multidimensional conﬂict-mitigation tool for
farmers coexisting with elephants. Conserv. Biol. 31, 743–752. doi: 10.1111/cobi.
Kioko, J., Muruthi, P., Omondi, P., and Chiyo, P. I. (2008). The performance of
electric fences as elephant barriers in Amboseli, Kenya. Sou Afr. J. Wildlife Res.
38, 52–58. doi: 10.3957/0379-4369-38.1.52
Kohi, E. M., de Boer, W. F., Peel, M. J. S., Slotow, R., van der Waal, C.,
Heitkönig, I. M. A., et al. (2011). African elephants Loxodonta africana
amplify browse heterogeneity in African Savanna. Biotropica 43, 711–721.
Lahm, S. A. (1996). A nationwide survey of crop-raiding by elephants and other
species in Gabon. Pachyderm 21, 69–77.
Lee, P. C., and Graham, M. D. (2006). African elephants Loxodonta africana and
human-elephant interactions: implications for conservation. Int. Zoo Yearbook
40, 9–19. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1090.2006.00009.x
Leimgruber, P., Gagnon, J. B., Wemmer, C., Kelly, D. S., Songer, M. A.,
and Selig, E. R. (2003). Fragmentation of Asia’s remaining wildlands:
implications for Asian elephant conservation. Anim. Conserv. 6, 347–359.
Leimgruber, P., Senior, B., Aung, M., Songer, M. A., Mueller, T., Wemmer, C.,
and Ballou, J. D. (2008). Modeling population viability of captive elephants
in Myanmar (Burma): implications for wild populations. Anim. Conserv. 11,
198–205. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00172.x
Liu, P., Wen, H., Harich, F. K., He, C., Wang, L., Guo, X., et al. (2017). Conﬂict
between conservation and development: cash forest encroachment in Asian
elephant distributions. Sci. Rep. 7:6404. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06751-6
Liu, P., Wen, H., Lin, L., Liu, J., and Zhang, L. (2016). Habitat evaluation for
Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in Lincang: conservation planning for an
extremely small population of elephants in China. Biol. Conserv. 198, 113–121.
Madhusudan, M. D., Sharma, N., Raghunath, R., Baskaran, N., Bipin, C. M.,
Gubbi, S., et al. (2015). Distribution, relative abundance, and conservation
status of Asian elephants in Karnataka, southern India. Biol. Conserv. 187,
34–40. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.003
Mar, K. U., Lahdenper,ä, M., and Lummaa, V. (2012). Causes and correlates
of calf mortality in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). PLoS ONE
7:e32335. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032335
Mariki, S. B., Svarstad, H., and Benjaminsen, T. A. (2015). Elephants over the
cliﬀ: explaining wildlife killings in Tanzania. Land Use Policy 44, 19–30.
Massei, G., Quy, R. J., Gurney, J., and Cowan, D. P. (2010). Can translocations
be used to mitigate human–wildlife conﬂicts? Wildlife Res. 37, 428–439.
Massey, A. L., King, A. A., and Foufopoulos, J. (2014). Fencing protected
areas: a long-term assessment of the eﬀects of reserve establishment and
fencing on African mammalian diversity. Biol. Conserv. 176, 162–171.
Mcdonald, R. I., Forman, R. T. T., Kareiva, P., Neugarten, R., Salzer, D., and
Fisher, J. (2009). Urban eﬀects, distance, and protected areas in an urbanizing
world. Landsc. Urban Plan. 93, 63–75. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.
McHale, M. R., Bunn, D. N., Pickett, S. T., and Twine, W. (2013). Urban ecology in
a developing world: why advanced socioecological theory needs Africa. Front.
Ecol. Environ. 11, 556–564. doi: 10.1890/120157
MOEF (2010). Gajah: Securing the Future for Elephants in India. [Dataset] New
Delhi: Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Government of India.
Moss, C. (1988). Elephant memories: thirteen years in the life of an elephant family.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mutinda, M., Chenge, G., Gakuya, F., Otiende, M., Omondi, P., Kasiki, S., et al.
(2014). Detusking fence-breaker elephants as an approach in human-elephant
conﬂict mitigation. PLoS ONE 9:e91749. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091749
Nath, N. K., Dutta, S. K., Das, J. P., and Lahkar, B. P. (2015). A quantiﬁcation
of damage and assessment of economic loss due to crop raiding by Asian
Elephant Elephas maximus (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Elephantidae): a case
study of Manas National Park, Assam, India. J. Threat. Taxa 7, 6853–6863.
Nath, N. K., Lahkar, B. P., Brahma, N., Dey, S., Das, J. P., Sarma, P. K., et al. (2009).
An assessment of human-elephant conﬂict in Manas National Park, Assam,
India. J. Threat. Taxa 1, 309–316. doi: 10.11609/JoT T.o1821.309-16
Naughton-Treves, L., Grossberg, R., and Treves, A. (2003). Paying for tolerance:
Rural Citizens’ attitudes toward wolf depredation and compensation. Conserv.
Biol. 17, 1500–1511. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2003.00060.x
Newmark, W. D. (2008). Isolation of African protected areas. Front. Ecol. Environ.
6, 321–328. doi: 10.1890/070003
Ngure, N. (1995). People-elephant conﬂict management in Tsavo, Kenya.
Pachyderm 19, 20–26.
Nsonsi, F., Heymans, J.-C., Diamouangana, J., and Breuer, T. (2017). Attitudes
towards forest elephant conservation around a protected area in northern
congo. Conserv. Soc. 15:59. doi: 10.4103/0972-4923.201394
Ntumi, C., van Aarde, R., Fairall, N., and de Boer, W. F. (2005). Use of space and
habitat by elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Maputo Elephant Reserve,
Mozambique. South Afr. J. WildlifeRes. 35, 139–146. Available online at: https://
Nyhus, P. J., Osofsky, S. A., Ferraro, P., Fischer, H., and Madden, F. (2005). Bearing
the costs of human-wildlife conﬂict: the challenges of compensation schemes.
Conserv. Biol. Ser. Cambrid. 9, 107. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511614774.008
Nyhus, P. J., Tilson, R., and Sumianto, R. T. (2000). Crop-raiding elephants and
conservation implications at Way Kambas National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia.
Oryx 34, 262–274. doi: 10.1017/S0030605300031331
Ogra, M., and Badola, R. (2008). Compensating human–wildlife conﬂict in
protected area communities: ground-level perspectives from Uttarakhand,
India. Hum. Ecol. 36:717. doi: 10.1007/s10745-008-9189-y
Ogra, M. V. (2008). Human–wildlife conﬂict and gender in protected
area borderlands: a case study of costs, perceptions, and vulnerabilities
from Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), India. Geoforum 39, 1408–1422.
Osborn, F. V. (2002). Capsicum oleoresin as an elephant repellant: ﬁeld trials
in the communal lands of Zimbabwe. J. Wildlife Manage. 66, 674–677.
Osborn, F. V. (2004). Seasonal variation of feeding patterns and food
selection by crop-raiding elephants in Zimbabwe. Afr. J. Ecol. 42, 322–327.
Otiang’a-Owiti, G. E., Nyamasyo, S., EMalel, E., and Onyuro, R. (2011).
Impact of climate change on human-wildlife conﬂicts in East Africa. Kenya
Veterinarian 35, 103–110. Available online at: https://www.ajol.info/index.php/
Pan, W., Lin, L., Luo, A., and Zhang, L. (2009). Corridor use by Asian elephants.
Integr. Zool. 4, 220–231. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2009.00154.x
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 10 January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
Pant, G., Dhakal, M., Pradhan, N. M. B., Leverington, F., and Hockings, M. (2016).
Nature and extent of human–elephant Elephas maximus conﬂict in central
Nepal. Oryx 50, 724–731. doi: 10.1017/S0030605315000381
Parker, G. E., and Osborn, F. V. (2006). Investigating the potential for chilli
Capsicum spp. to reduce human-wildlife conﬂict in Zimbabwe. Oryx 40,
343–346. doi: 10.1017/S0030605306000822
Perera, B. (2009). The human-elephant conﬂict: A review of current status
and mitigation methods. Gajah 30, 41–52. Available online at: http://
Elephant-Conﬂict- A-Review- of-Current- Status- and-Mitigation- Methods.
Peterson, M. N., Birckhead, J. L., Leong, K., Peterson, M. J., and Peterson, T. R.
(2010). Rearticulating the myth of human–wildlife conﬂict. Conserv. Lett. 3,
74–82. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2010.00099.x
Pinter-Wollman, N. (2009). Spatial behaviour of translocated African
elephants (Loxodonta africana) in a novel environment: using
behaviour to inform conservation actions. Behaviour 146, 1171–1192.
Pittiglio, C., Skidmore, A. K., van Gils, H. A., McCall, M. K., and Prins, H. H.
(2014). smallholder farms as stepping stone corridors for crop-raiding elephant
in northern tanzania: integration of bayesian expert system and network
simulator. Ambio 43, 149–161 doi: 10.1007/s13280-013-0437-z
Poshitha, D., Suduwella, C., Sayakkara, A., Sandaruwan, D., Keppitiyagama, C., De
Zoysa, K., et al. (2015). “Listening to the giants: using elephant infra-sound to
solve the human-elephant conﬂict,” in Proceedings of the 6th ACM Workshop on
Real World Wireless Sensor Networks (Seoul). doi: 10.1145/2820990.2821000
Puyravaud, J.-P., Cushman, S. A., Davidar, P., and Madappa, D. (2017). Predicting
landscape connectivity for the Asian elephant in its largest remaining
subpopulation. Anim. Conserv. 20, 225–234. doi: 10.1111/acv.12314
Rabinowitz, A., and Zeller, K. A. (2010). A range-wide model of landscape
connectivity and conservation for the jaguar, Panthera onca.Biol. Conserv. 143,
939–945. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.01.002
Riddle, H. S., Schulte, B. A., Desai, A. A., and Meer, L. (2010).
Elephants - a conservation overview. J. Threat. Taxa 2, 653–651.
Rodrigues, A. S., Andelman, S. J., Bakarr, M. I., Boitani, L., Brooks, T. M., Cowling,
R. M., et al. (2004). Eﬀectiveness of the global protected area network in
representing species diversity. Nature 428, 640–643. doi: 10.1038/nature02422
Roever, C. L., van Aarde, R. J., and Leggett, K. (2013). Functional connectivity
within conservation networks: delineating corridors for African elephants. Biol.
Conserv. 157, 128–135. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.06.025
Saaban, S., Othman, N. B., Yasak, M. N. B., Burhanuddin, M. N., Zaﬁr, A., and
Campos-Arceiz, A. (2011). Current status of Asian elephants in peninsular
Malaysia. Gajah 35, 67–75. Available online at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.
Santiapillai, C., and Read, B. (2010). Would masking the smell of ripening paddy-
ﬁelds help mitigate human–elephant conﬂict in Sri Lanka? Oryx 44, 509–511.
Santiapillai, C., Wijeyamohan, S., Bandara, G., Athurupana, R., Dissanayake, N.,
and Read, B. (2010). An assessment of the human-elephant conﬂict in Sri
Lanka. Ceylon J. Sci. 39. 21–33. doi: 10.4038/cjsbs.v39i1.2350
Sarker, A. H. M. R., Hossen, A., and Røskaft, E. (2015). Fatal elephant encounters
on humans in bangladesh: context and incidences. Environ. Nat. Resour. Res.
5:99. doi: 10.5539/enrr.v5n2p99
Sekar, N., Lee, C. L., and Sukumar, R. (2017). Functional nonredundancy
of elephants in a disturbed tropical forest. Conserv. Biol. 31, 1152–1162.
Shaﬀer, L. J. (2010). Indigenous ﬁre use to manage savanna landscapes in southern
Mozambique. Fire Ecol. 6, 43–59 doi: 10.4996/ﬁreecology.0602043
Shaﬀer, L. J., and Naiene, L. (2011). Why analyze mental models of local climate
change? a case from southern mozambique. Weather Clim. Soc. 3, 223–237.
Shannon, G., Page, B., Slotow, R., and Duﬀy, K. (2006). African elephant home
range and habitat selection in Pongola Game Reserve, South Africa. Afr. Zool.
41, 37–44. doi: 10.1080/15627020.2006.11407333
Sikes, S. K. (1971). The Natural History of the African Elephant. London:
Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Sitati, N. W., and Walpole, M. J. (2006). Assessing farm-based measures for
mitigating human-elephant conﬂict in Transmara District, Kenya. Oryx 40,
279–286. doi: 10.1017/S0030605306000834
Sitati, N. W., Walpole, M. J., Smith, R. J., and Leader-Williams, N. (2003).
Predicting spatial aspects of human–elephant conﬂict. J. Appl. Ecol. 40,
667–677. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2664.2003.00828.x
Sitienei, A. J., Jiwen, G., and Ngene, S. M. (2014). Assessing the cost of
living with elephants Loxodonta africana in areas adjacent to Meru National
Park, Kenya. Eur. J. Wildlife Res. 60, 323–330. doi: 10.1007/s10344-013-
Snyman, S. (2014). Assessment of the main factors impacting community
members’ attitudes towards tourism and protected areas in six southern African
countries. Koedoe, 56, 1–12. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v56i2.1139
Sodhi, N. S., Lee, T. M., Sekercioglu, C. H.,Webb, E. L., Prawiradilaga,
D. M., Lohman, D. J., et al. (2010). Local people value environmental
services provided by forested parks. Biodivers. Conserv. 19, 1175–1188.
Sukumar, R. (1990). Ecology of the Asian Elephant in Southern India.
II. feeding habits and crop raiding patterns. J. Trop. Ecol. 6, 33–53
Sukumar, R. (1991). The management of large mammals in relation to
male strategies and conﬂict with people. Biol. Conserv. 55, 93–102.
Sukumar, R. (1992). The Asian Elephant: Ecology and Management.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Sukumar, R. (2003). The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology,Behaviour, and
Conservation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Sukumar, R. (2006). A brief review of the status, distribution and biology
of wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus. Int. Zoo Yearbook 40, 1–8.
Sukumar, R. (2008). “Elephants in time and space: evolution and ecology,” in
Elephants and Ethics: Toward a Morality of Coexistence eds C. Wemmer and
C. A. Christen (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press), 17–39.
Tchamba, M. N. (1996). History and present status of the human/elephant conﬂict
in the Waza-Logone region, Cameroon, West Africa. Biol. Conserv. 75, 35–41.
Tchamba, M. N., and Foguekem, D. (2012). Human elephant conﬂict in the
Waza-Logone region of northern Cameroon: an assessment of management
eﬀectiveness. Tropicultura 30, 79–87. Available online at: http://www.
Thakholi, L. (2016). Modes of Land Control in Transfrontier Conservation Areas: A
Case of Green Grabbing. Cape Town: Doctoral dissertation, University of Cape
Thomas, B., Holland, J. D., and Minot, E. O. (2008). Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
home ranges in sabi sand reserve and kruger national park: a ﬁve-year satellite
tracking study. PLoS ONE 3:e3902. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003902
Thouless, C., Dublin, H. T., Blanc, J., Skinner, D., Daniel, T., Taylor, R., et al. and
Bouche, P. (2016). African Elephant Status Report 2016. Occasional Paper Series
of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, 60.
Thuppil, V., and Coss, R. G. (2016). Playback of felid growls mitigates crop-
raiding by elephants Elephas maximus in southern India. Oryx 50, 329–335.
Treves, A., and Bruskotter, J. (2014). Tolerance for predatory Wildlife. Science 344,
476–477. doi: 10.1126/science.1252690
van Aarde, R., Whyte, I., and Pimm, S. (1999). Culling and the dynamics of the
Kruger National Park African elephant population. Anim. Conserv. 2, 287–294
Vancuylenberg, B. W. B. (1977). Feeding behaviour of the asiatic elephant in
South-East Sri Lanka in relation to conservation. Biol. Conserv. 12, 33–54
Venkataraman, A. B., Saandeep, R., Baskaran, N., Roy, M., Madhivanan, A.,
and Sukumar, R. (2005). Using satellite telemetry to mitigate elephant–
human conﬂict: An experiment in northern West Bengal, India. Curr. Sci. 88,
1827–1831. Available online at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24110372
Webber, C. E., Sereivathana, T., Maltby,M. P., and Lee, P. C. (2011). Elephant crop-
raiding and human–elephant conﬂict in Cambodia: crop selection and seasonal
timings of raids. Oryx 45, 243–251. doi: 10.1017/S0030605310000335
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 11 January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235
Shaffer et al. Human-Elephant Conﬂict
Western, D., Russell, S., and Cuthill, I. (2009). The status of Wildlife in
protected areas compared to non-protected areas of Kenya. PLoS ONE 4:e6140.
White, P. C. L., and Ward, A. I. (2011). Interdisciplinary approaches for the
management of existing and emerging human–wildlife conﬂicts. Wildlife Res.
37, 623–629. doi: 10.1071/WR10191
Whyte, I. J. (2012). “The elephant management dilemma,” in Environmental
Ethics: What Really Matters, What Really Works 2 Edn, eds D.
Schmidtz and E. Willott (New York, NY: Oxford University Press),
Wijayagunawardane, M. P. B., Short, R. V., Samarakone, T. S., Nishany, K.
B. M., Harrington, H., Perera, B. V. P., et al. (2016). The use of audio
playback to deter crop-raiding Asian elephants. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 40, 375–379.
Williams, A. C., Johnsingh, A. J. T., and Krausman, P. R. (2001). Elephant-human
conﬂicts in Rajaji National Park, northwestern India. Wildlife Society Bulletin
(1973–2006) 29, 1097–1104. Available online at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/
World Bank (2018). Population Growth (Annual %). Accessed 2 May 2018.
Availble online at: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW?year_
Zeppelzauer, M., Hensman, S., and Stoeger, A. S. (2015). Towards an automated
acoustic detection system for free ranging elephants. Bioacoustics 24, 13–29.
Conﬂict of Interest Statement: The authors declare that the research was
conducted in the absence of any commercial or ﬁnancial relationships that could
be construed as a potential conﬂict of interest.
Copyright © 2019 Shaﬀer, Khadka, Van Den Hoek and Naithani. This is an open-
access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted,
provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the
original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic
practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply
with these terms.
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 12 January 2019 | Volume 6 | Article 235