Wildlife crop depredation in the Luangwa Valley, eastern Zambia

Type Journal Article - Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment
Title Wildlife crop depredation in the Luangwa Valley, eastern Zambia
Volume 3
Issue 15
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 481-491
URL http://www.academicjournals.org/app/webroot/article/article1380033082_Nyirenda et al.pdf
Wildlife crop raiding was assessed in six chiefdoms of the Luangwa Valley, eastern Zambia between 2004 and 2008 to establish nature and extent of wildlife crop degredation and examine the impact of existing mitigation measures being implemented to deter wildlife crop raiding. Crop damage assessments, involving crop quality, stage of growth and proportion of crop damage, were conducted using six trained field enumerators. Structured questionnaires were administered randomly to local farmers that were inflicted by wildlife crop raiders to elucidate on-farm deterrence measures. Eleven species of wildlife were identified as ‘problem animals’: African elephant (Loxodonta africana), Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), Bushpig (Potamochoerus larvatus), Yellow baboon (Papio cynocephalus), Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis), African civet (Civetta civetta), Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), Lesser kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Eland (Taurotragus oryx), Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus). Results showed that African elephant caused the most damage, 67.82 and 98.41% of total wet and dry farming crop raiding incidences respectively, which occurred at crop maturity between February and April. Maize (Zea mays) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) were the most affected crops by problem animals, associated with 71.38 and 42.86% of the total crop raids in wet and dry farming seasons respectively. Frequency and extent of damages depended on deterrence measure applied on the crop fields. Of the six chiefdoms, in Malama chiefdom where solar powered electric fences and Capsicum fences were implemented, there were few and less intensive incursions. Based on the findings, we suggest development of capacity for local farmers in effective wildlife crop mitigation measures, particularly against African elephants. Future research would require determining uptake by local farmers and efficacy of novel counter-measures.

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