Table of Contents
Advances in Ecology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4184261, 9 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4184261
Research Article

Balancing African Elephant Conservation with Human Well-Being in Rombo Area, Tanzania

1Department of Sustainable Agriculture, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, School of Life Sciences and Bioengineering, The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), P.O. Box 477, Arusha, Tanzania
2Department of Conservation Biology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Dodoma, P.O. Box 259, Dodoma, Tanzania

Correspondence should be addressed to Naza Emmanuel Mmbaga

Received 13 January 2017; Revised 9 April 2017; Accepted 9 May 2017; Published 31 May 2017

Academic Editor: Philippe Henry

Copyright © 2017 Naza Emmanuel Mmbaga et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The critical assessment of the nature and extent of human-elephant conflict (HEC) and its impact on conservation efforts are essential if we are to meet the challenges related to extinction of local population, as well as loss biodiversity. Conservationists need detailed information on HEC in areas where these challenges prevail to improve intervention in the face of limited funds/resources. We assessed the status of HEC at Rombo area over the last six years. Data based on household surveys, focus group discussions, spatiotemporal analysis of site observations, and reported incidents of damage within the last six years were mapped. Out of all HEC cases analyzed, the most were crop damage which took place at night and the damage was severe between May and July, when cereal crops were mature. In upland areas of Rombo, HEC hotspots were observed inside the protected forest plantation where local people cultivated their annual crops. Cold spots concentrated in upland areas outside the protected forest plantation dominated by settlement and agroforestry less preferred by elephants. In lowland areas, HEC hotspots were observed in village lands close to the PAs, within settlement and farmland dominated by seasonal crops. This suggests that HEC management efforts such as establishment of buffer zones should be directed around the areas adjacent to PAs and prevention should focus on cultivation of the alternative crops and farming systems that are less preferred by elephants. Our study highlights the importance of using a combination of data collection techniques to pinpoint fine-scale HEC hotspots in a highly conflict-prone location of Tanzania.