Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Michael Stokes (Director), Bruce A. Schulte, Carl Dick

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


In South Africa, 2 primate species, Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) and vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), and 2 nocturnal mammals, Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), are among many species of crop raiders. Currently, cost-effective, non-lethal solutions are lacking. From June through December 2012, I installed novel electronic scarecrows on two commercial citrus orchards and a private reserve and used video-recording remote cameras to assess cropraiders’ reactions to them in Limpopo Province, South Africa. I used focal animal sampling data from treatment and control group animals to examine differences in activity budgets and behaviors of interest between groups. Compared to animals at sites with an inactive or no scarecrow, I hypothesized that animals in the treatment group would have altered activity budgets and rates of behaviors; that they would forage or feed less, run more (as a result of being frightened), be more vigilant and thus scan their surroundings more often, and display a visible startle in response to stimuli from scarecrows. Bushbuck at treatment sites spent a larger proportion of their activity budget running, and were more often startled. However, foraging was never observed, and bushbuck in the control group scanned their surroundings more often. Porcupines at treatment sites spent a larger portion of their activity budget running, though foraging was only observed in 1 control group animal and looking was never observed. For primates, treatment (control, scarecrow) was meaningful in explaining differences in focal animal activity budgets of baboons (F = 5.49, P = 0.001) and vervet monkeys (F = 7.09, P = 0.001) as indicated by a permutational MANOVA in R. In baboons, treatment was positively correlated with running; ratios of baboons that ran to baboons that did not run differed between treatment groups (G = 15.78, P < 0.001). Treatment was negatively correlated with feeding; ratios of baboons that fed or foraged to baboons that did not feed or forage differed (G = 5.39, P = 0.02). Significant differences between groups of vervet monkeys were not found with G-tests for the same behaviors of interest. Electronic scarecrows are promising tools for human-wildlife conflict mitigation, particularly for nocturnal antelopes. For primates, further innovation in design of scarecrows to incorporate a visual stimulus is recommended.


Agriculture | Animal Sciences | Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology