Use drones to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Wild herbivores can cause substantial damage to agricultural crops. Various methods may be used to deter animals from accessing crops or to scare away animals in the area. This intervention covers use of drones for scaring animals away from crop areas. If successful, the intervention could reduce incentives for carrying out lethal control of crop-raiding mammal species.
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.Study and other actions tested