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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effectiveness of intervention methods against crop-raiding elephants

Published source details

Davies T.E., Wilson S., Hazarika N., Chakrabarty J., Das D., Hodgson D.J. & Zimmermann A. (2011) Effectiveness of intervention methods against crop-raiding elephants. Conservation Letters, 4, 346-354


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Drive wild animals away using domestic animals of the same species to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009, in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that using domestic elephants to drive wild Asian elephants Elephas maximus away from villages did not reduce the probability of elephants damaging crops. The chance of crop damage occurring was not lower when domestic elephants were used to deter crop-raiding wild elephants, in comparison with a range of other interventions or no intervention (results presented as statistical model coefficients). Within two study areas, 33 community members trained as monitors recorded 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrence methods was used, singly or in combination, including using domesticated elephants to repel wild elephants, chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), spotlights, two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), fire and noise.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use light/lasers to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009 in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that using spotlights directed at the eyes of Asian elephants Elephas maximus reduced the probability of elephants causing crop damage. The chance of crop damage occurring was lower when spotlights were used to deter crop-raiding elephants compared to a range of other interventions or no intervention (results presented as statistical model coefficients). Only installing fences reduced crop raiding to a greater extent. Using loud noises alongside spotlighting reduced its effectiveness. Within two study areas, 33 community members were trained as monitors to record the 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrents were used, singly or in combination, including spotlights, chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), elephant drives (using domesticated elephants to repel wild elephants), fire and noise.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use fire to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009, in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that using fire to deter crop-raiding Asian elephants Elephas maximus reduced the chance of crop damage occurring. The chance of crop damage occurring was lower when fire was used to deter crop-raiding elephants compared to a range of other interventions or no intervention (results presented as statistic model coefficients). Loud noise, fences and spotlights reduced crop raiding to a greater extent. Using loud noises alongside fire was less effective than using fire alone. Within two study areas, 33 community members trained as monitors, recorded 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrent methods was used, singly or in combination. These were fire (in pits or on hand-held fire torches), chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), spotlights, two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), elephant drives (using domesticated elephants to repel wild elephants) and noise.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use chili to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009, in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that using chili smoke to deter Asian elephants Elephas maximus did not reduce the probability of elephants raiding crops. The chance of crop damage occurring was not lower when chili smoke was used to deter crop-raiding elephants compared to a range of other interventions or to no intervention (results presented as statistic model). Within two study areas, 33 community members were trained as monitors to record the 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrents were used, singly or in combination. These included chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), spotlights, two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), elephant drives (using domesticated elephants to repel wild elephants), fire and noise.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Install electric fencing to protect crops from mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009 in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that electric or chili fences reduced the probability of Asian elephants Elephas maximus damaging crops. The effectiveness specifically of electric fences was not analysed. The chance of crop damage occurring was lower when fences provided a barrier to crop-raiding elephants, compared to a range of other interventions or to no intervention (results presented as statistic model coefficients). However, loud noises alongside fences reduced their effectiveness. Within two study areas, 33 community members trained as monitors recorded 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrent methods, used singly or in combination, included two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), spotlights, elephant drives (repelling wild elephants using domesticated elephants), fire and noise.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use loud noises to deter crop damage (e.g. banger sticks, drums, tins, iron sheets) by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2006–2009 in two areas of Assam, India (Davies et al. 2011) found that using loud noises to scare Asian elephants Elephas maximus reduced the probability of elephants damaging crops. The chance of crop damage occurring was lower when noise was used to deter elephants compared to a range of other interventions or to no intervention (results presented as statistic model coefficients). Only fences and spotlights reduced crop raiding to a greater extent. Within two study areas, 33 community members, trained as monitors, recorded 1,761 crop-raiding incidents, from 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2009. A range of deterrent methods was used, singly or in combination, including noise (shouting, crackers or drums), chili smoke (from burning dried chilies, tobacco, and straw), spotlights, two-strand electric fences, chili fencing (engine grease and ground chili paste, on a jute or coconut rope), elephant drives (repelling wild elephants using domesticated elephants) and fire.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)