Drivers of human-elephant coexistence and their importance for management decisions

This submission has open access
Submission Summary

To understand the value of elephants for society, as well as the drivers of human-elephant coexistence, we surveyed rural communities, landowners and park managers in and around Dinokeng Game Reserve in South Africa and Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. The project explores the cultural, social and existence value of elephants from multiple perspectives in various landscapes, shares insight into the concept of elephants as natural capital, and shows how perceived benefits affect people's attitudes toward elephants. The study, which is ongoing, consists of questionnaires (n = 600), in-depth interviews, and a series of participatory workshops. In general, more supportive attitudes toward elephants and coexistence were held by individuals who had received benefits (e.g. community development, feelings of pride and satisfaction, or financial benefits) from living with elephants (p = 0.001). The results will be framed in a theory of change model which highlights a bottom-up approach and three pathways to a shared vision of coexistence. The overall purpose of this study is to elucidate the values that elephants bring to society and to evaluate how these values contribute to increased human wellbeing and sustainable development. This transnational, community-based approach contributes to the development of integrated human-elephant coexistence strategies that reconcile conservation and human wellbeing goals.

Submission ID :
conservationsym201940
Submission Type
Oral Presentation
Submission Topic
Closed Special Session: Feedback, reflections, and learnings from developing a National Elephant Conservation Strategy

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