Publication Date

Summer 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Bruce A. Schulte (Director), Nancy A. Rice and Michael Stokes

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Escalating human elephant conflict (HEC) continues to be a contributing factor

towards elephant decline, and crop raiding is the most common form of negative

human-elephant interactions. For communities that cannot reverse or prevent crop

raiding, it is necessary to contain HEC events through deterrent measures. Few

deterrent measures exist that combine practicality and affordability while also

preventing habituation by elephants. This project focused on comparing the efficacy of

deterrent methods to assess which was the most successful at preventing elephants

from entering crops in the farming community of Sasenyi, Kenya. In this paired-control

study, four deterrent methods were evaluated: acacia fences, chili-pepper fences, a

new metal strip fence, and a combination of a chili and metal strip fence. Of the over

400 visits by elephants to individual fields containing crops recorded during two field

seasons, elephants entered farmer fields in the experimental area on 33 occasions

(<10%). Analysis of incidents when elephants approached at less than 50 m revealed

that the chili + metal fence and the metal fence were significantly more effective than

no deterrent. Following further verification of its effectiveness, this new deterrent

method could be a powerful new tool to alleviate elephant crop raiding and reduce HEC.


Behavior and Ethology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Zoology