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Journal Article

Predicting Patterns of Crop Damage by Wildlife around Kibale National Park, Uganda

Lisa Naughton-Treves
Conservation Biology
Vol. 12, No. 1 (Feb., 1998), pp. 156-168
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2387471
Page Count: 13
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Predicting Patterns of Crop Damage by Wildlife around Kibale National Park, Uganda
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Abstract

Crop loss to wildlife impedes local support for conservation efforts at Kibale National Park, Uganda. Systematic monitoring of crop loss to wildlife (mammals larger than 3 kg) and livestock was conducted in six villages around Kibale over a 2-year period. Five wildlife species accounted for 85% of crop damage events: baboons, bushpigs, redtail monkeys, chimpanzees, and elephants. Marked variation in frequency and extent of damage is reported within villages, between villages, and between wildlife species. Fields lying within 500 m of the forest boundary lost 4-7% of crops per season on average, but the distribution of damage was highly skewed such that maize and cassava fields were on occasion completely destroyed. Multivariate analysis was used to test predictors of damage, including human population density, guarding, hunting, sight distance, and distance from the forest. Tests were performed at two levels of analysis, field and village. Distance from the forest edge explained the greatest amount of variation in crop damage, although hunting also influenced the extent of crop damage. Elephants inflicted catastrophic damage to farms but their forays were rare and highly localized. Livestock caused considerable damage to crops but farmers seldom complained because they had institutionalized modes of restitution. Although most of the crop damage by wildlife is restricted to a narrow band of farmers living near the forest edge, risk perception among these farmers has been amplified by legal prohibitions on killing wild animals. Elevating local tolerance for wildlife will require diverse approaches, including channeling economic benefits to Kibale's neighbors and providing compensation in limited cases.

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