Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Stokes (Director), Dr. Steve Huskey, Dr. Bruce Schulte

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Human-elephant conflict (HEC) is complex and a serious elephant conservation concern across Africa and Asia where elephants are found. HEC occurs whenever people and elephants share common interests. For HEC to be ameliorated and elephant conservation to be successful locally and regionally, the distribution and implications of HEC should be understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the spatial distribution of HECs and characterize elephant herds in terms of herd size responsible for crop-raiding in Kasigau. The study was generally guided by two working a priori hypotheses: (1) farms near the bush edge or livestock watering points will experience more crop raiding incidences than those farther away, and (2) given the geographical differences, the total cost of damage to crops sustained in all the farms will be different across the seven villages. For hypothesis 1, the distances of random farms to the bush and to the bush edge were mapped and measured on Google EarthTM. Results of the study showed that there were differences in the distribution of the distances from the bush and from water for farms that experienced damage and a random selection of farms (p < .0001).

Additionally, total cost of damage to crops (Kruskal-Wallis; p < 0.0001), average cost of damage to crops per acre per incursion (Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA; p = 0.0255) and mean cost of damage to crops and facilities (Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA; p < 0.0001) were also found to be statistically different across all the villages. Four villages (Bungule,Ngambenyi, Makwasinyi, and Kisimenyi) sustained high total cost of damage to crops and average cost of damage to crops per acre per incursion indicating that these villages had similar elephant pressure. Ngambenyi village sustained the greatest cost of damage to crops while Kiteghe recorded the greatest average cost of damage to crops per acre per incursion.

A posteriori hypotheses included: (1) there will be seasonal distribution of elephant attacks on farms. Results showed that the proportion of total crop-raiding incidents was different during wet and dry seasons in my study period (X2 = 5.49, df = 1, p < .019) with the greatest occurrence of attacks taking place in February, which coincided with crop maturity. This indicates that crop raiding incidents were most common during harvesting time. This result coincides with what was reported elsewhere. (2) there will be difference in the number of crop-raiding incidents by single and multiple elephant responsible for crop incursions in Kasigau. Results demonstrated that the number of crop-raiding incidents by single and multiple elephants were significantly different (X2 = 329.1037; df = 1; p < .0001). A total of 163 (72%) farm incursions were caused by elephant herds comprising multiple individuals while single elephants were responsible for 62 crop-raiding incidents, or 28% of total farm incursions. 100% (225 incursion) of crop incursions reported occurred during the night.


Agriculture | Other Animal Sciences