Use target species scent to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict

How is the evidence assessed?

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of using target species scent to deter crop damage to reduce human-wildlife conflict. This study was in South Africa.





  • Human-wildlife conflict (1 study): A replicated, controlled study in South Africa found that African elephants were not deterred from feeding by the presence of secretions from elephant temporal glands.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled study in 1985 of shrubland in Limpopo, South Africa (Gorman 1986) found that compounds mimicing secretions from African elephant Loxodonta africana temporal glands did not deter feeding or otherwise change elephant behaviour. The rate of sniffing by captive elephants of hardboard pieces into which five scent compounds were absorbed (1–18 times/elephant/hour) did not differ from that for hardboards treated with carboxylic acids (2–15 times/elephant/hour). The rates fell for all boards over the 10-day study. Boards hung directly over feeding troughs did not deter elephants from feeding. Wild elephants exposed to aerosols containing scent compounds or carboxylic acids did not change behaviour. Seven captive elephants, 9–12 months old, held in three pens, were exposed to secretions or carboxylic acid absorbed into hardboards fastened to the sides of pens. Boards were re-treated every two days. Lone wild bull elephants were exposed to scent compounds (18 times) or carboxylic acid (nine times) mixed with water and administered as aerosols. The study was conducted in July–August 1985.

    Study and other actions tested
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.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation - Published 2020

Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

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