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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Community-based methods to reduce crop loss to elephants: experiments in the communal lands of Zimbabwe

Published source details

Osborn F.V. & Parker G.E. (2002) Community-based methods to reduce crop loss to elephants: experiments in the communal lands of Zimbabwe. Pachyderm, 33, 32-38


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

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

A replicated study in 2001 of arable land in seven villages in Guruve District, Zimbabwe (Osborn & Parker 2002) found that burning chilies mixed with elephant Loxodonta africana dung, repelled crop-raiding elephants faster than did traditional deterrents of beating drums and throwing rocks. Elephants left faster (average 9 minutes) when chili mixed with dung was burned than they did when traditional repellent methods alone were used (average 65 minutes). Seven villages were studied. At three villages, farmers set fire to bricks made of elephant dung mixed with chili, to deter elephants that were attempting to raid crops, on 34 occasions. Farmers at four villages used traditional methods to scare off elephants that attempted to raid crops, namely banging drums and throwing rocks with catapults, on 27 occasions. The study was conducted from 1 January to 30 June 2001 and data were collected by a team of observers.

(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 replicated study in 2001 of arable land in seven villages in Guruve District, Zimbabwe (Osborn & Parker 2002) found that using loud noises, by throwing firecrackers at crop-raiding elephants Loxodonta africana, repelled them faster than did traditional deterrents such as beating drums and throwing rocks. Elephants left faster when firecrackers were activated (average 6 minutes) than they did when traditional repellent methods alone were used (average 65 minutes). Seven villages were studied. At three villages, on 35 occasions, farmers threw locally made firecrackers at elephants that were attempting to raid crops. On 27 occasions, farmers at four villages used traditional methods to ward off elephants that attempted to raid crops, namely banging drums and throwing rocks with catapults. The study was conducted from 1 January to 30 June 2001 and data were collected by a team of observers.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)