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Living with Giants: Implications of elephant habitat choice on human-elephant conflict and coexistence

Gonçalves, Dominique D'Emille Correia (2023) Living with Giants: Implications of elephant habitat choice on human-elephant conflict and coexistence. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104454) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:104454)

Language: English

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We are currently in the middle of a global environmental crisis, with a million species at risk of extinction and many ecosystems threatened by collapse. In response, signatories to the Convention of Biological Diversity recently developed a set of targets to be met by 2030, as part of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. These include committing to: "Ensure that all areas are under participatory, integrated and biodiversity inclusive spatial planning and/or effective management processes" (Target 1) and to "Ensure urgent management actions to halt human induced extinction of known threatened species and [...] effectively manage human-wildlife interactions to minimize human-wildlife conflict for coexistence" (Target 4). Meeting these targets will be extremely challenging and there is a need for interdisciplinary, applied research to inform conservation policy and action.

In this thesis I used an interdisciplinary approach to understand how better to manage conservation issues related to the savanna elephant population in Gorongosa National Park (GNP) in Mozambique. This elephant species is globally threatened but some of its populations are increasing. This is the case for the Gorongosa population, which is recovering from a major poaching event that happened decades before. The result is an increase in human-elephant conflict, as elephants increasingly move outside the protected area and interact with the people farming in the neighbouring buffer zone. This type of problem is occurring around the world, where a threatened species is recovering due to better conservation management, and people are increasing the extent and intensity of farming with support from government and NGOs.

This thesis represents an exploration and analysis of human elephant conflict, where three empirical solid chapters were produced. Those include spatial analyses from GPS collar data to understand how elephants use the broader landscape (Chapter 2) and interact with boundaries in the form of rivers and beehive fences (Chapter 3), as well as interviews with local communities to understand their tolerance or intolerance to elephants to help inform conservation efforts (Chapter 4).

The results contribute to our understanding as to how interventions can be used to address human elephant conflict, and how experiences of conflict affect attitudes to elephants in high conflict areas around protected areas.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Smith, Robert
Thesis advisor: Poudyal, Mahesh
Thesis advisor: Humle, Tatyana
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.104454
Uncontrolled keywords: Loxodonta africana, Savanna elephants, conservation, Human-elephant conflict, coexistence, mitigation, habitat choice, beehive fences, tolerance, social-ecological systems
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2024 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 10:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Gonçalves, Dominique D'Emille Correia.

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