The Effectiveness of Electric Fencing in Mitigating Human-Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka
AbstractThis study assesses the effectiveness of electric fences in reducing conflict between elephants and humans in Sri Lanka. The study looked at five electric fence projects that have been set up to prevent elephants from straying out of protected wildlife areas into farmers' fields. This conflict between people and elephants is a key social and environmental problem for the country. A household survey gathered information about how effective the fences are and gauged local people's attitudes. The study also looked at why electric fences did not work. It found that, although electric fences do help mitigate conflicts between elephants and humans, they do not completely eliminate the problem and do not offer a 'stand alone' solution. In each survey area, technical as well as socio-economic factors were found to determine levels of success. Community support for the fences was found to be vital. Poor, ad-hoc decisions were a key factor determining success or failure: Fences were often unsuccessful because elephant behaviour had not been properly taken into account. The findings of the study indicate that a thorough appraisal is needed before an electric fence is set up and that adequate resources should be invested in their construction and maintenance. Local people should be involved in a fence's planning, construction and maintenance. The report highlights the need for an integrated approach to the problem of human elephant conflict. Such an approach should involve comprehensive land use planning and habitat enrichment alongside well-planned electric fencing, where appropriate. Electric fences are only part of the solution.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) in its series EEPSEA Research Report with number rr2006062.
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision: Jun 2006
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