Take a Survey Rholands Hall 06 Nov 2019 Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Parallel A - Rholands Hall 16:00 - 17:30

Drivers of human-elephant coexistence and their importance for management decisions Take a Survey
16:00 - 16:15

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.

The management dilemma: Removing elephants to save large trees Take a Survey
16:15 - 16:30

The loss of large trees ( > 5 m in height) in Africa's protected areas is often attributed to the impact of savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana). Concerns have been raised over large tree mortality levels in protected areas such as South Africa's Kruger National Park (KNP) and in the past, the need to manage its elephant population in order to preserve large trees and biodiversity as a whole. Our review aims to synthesise and discuss the complexities of managing elephants' effects on the landscape to ensure the survival of large trees, as well as the application purposes of the various lethal and non-lethal elephant mitigation strategies. We critically evaluate past management strategies, which have solely focused on controlling elephant numbers to protect large trees. A variety of options exist to manage the effects that elephants have on large trees. These options range from large-scale landscape manipulation solutions to small-scale individual tree protection methods. Our review evaluates how current mitigation strategies have shifted from purely managing elephant numbers to managing elephant distribution across impact gradients, thereby promoting heterogeneity within the system. Additionally, we discuss each mitigation strategy's occurrence at various landscape scales and its advantages and disadvantages when used to manage the impact of elephant on large trees.

Elephants and big trees: Developing mitigation methods to alleviate human-elephant conflict Take a Survey
16:30 - 16:45

Increasing African elephant (Loxodonta africana) numbers in South Africa's protected areas have caused concerns over the impact that elephants have on big tree species. Reserve managers are seeking elephant mitigation methods to protect big trees. The protection of particular big trees, whether for ecological or tourism purposes, requires the development and testing of elephant mitigation methods. These methods focus on directly protecting trees from elephant impact. We present the results from ongoing experiments in the Associated Private Nature Reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park. Methods are evaluated in terms of effectiveness at protecting the individual tree, as well as the financial costs involved in the method's installation. After three years, beehives are proving to be the most effective mitigation method (8% of trees impacted versus 80% of control trees). However, the method may cost between R600 – R5000 per tree. Wire-netting is relatively cheaper (R100 per tree) and is highly effective against bark-stripping (2% bark-stripping on wire-netted trees versus 32% on control trees). However, wire-netted trees are still vulnerable to stem-snapping and uprooting of trees (18% of trees). Creosote tins have been attempted on some properties for one year to repel elephants from trees. However, elephant impact has occurred on 23% of these trees in comparison to 29% of the control trees. Rock-packing can reduce elephant impact, but only when a radius of > 3 m of rocks is placed around a tree. Our aim is to provide reserve managers with critically evaluated methods that they can use to protect selected trees from elephant impact.

University of KwaZulu-Natal
Elephants Alive
Elephants Alive
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

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