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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Use drones to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of using drones to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict. This study was in Tanzania.





  • Human-wildlife conflict (1 study): A replicated study in Tanzania found that drones repelled African savanna elephants from crops within one minute.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated study in 2015–2016 in two savanna reserves in Tanzania (Hahn et al. 2017) found that using drones to deter crop damage led to African savanna elephants Loxodonta africana leaving sites within one minute on all occasions. On all 38 occasions when drones were deployed to intercept elephants, the animals began to flee within one minute. Elephants were typically herded to an area > 1 km from croplands. Before drone use, rangers were trained during three 4-day workshops. In February–March and May–August 2015, and in March–April 2016, rangers deployed drones in 38 situations when elephants were found close to croplands or villages. Each drone was fitted with a flashlight, to locate elephants at night and, during the day, a live video feed from a camera on the drone was used. Elephant responses were recorded over 60-second intervals, during the first 10 minutes of the drone flight.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.