Rural and Urban Attitudes to the Conservation of Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka: Empirical Evidence
There has been little study of economic and general attitudes towards the conservation of the Asian elephant. This paper reports and analyses results from surveys conducted in Sri Lanka of attitudes of urban dwellers and farmers towards nature conservation in general and the elephant conservation in particular. The analyses are based on urban and a rural sample. Contingent valuation techniques are used as survey instruments. Multivariate logit regression analysis is used to analyze the respondents’ attitudes towards conservation of elephants. It is found that, although some variations occurred between the samples, the majority of the respondents (both rural and urban) have positive attitudes towards nature conservation in general. However, marked differences in attitudes toward elephant conservation are evident between these two samples: the majority of urban respondents were in favour of elephant conservation; rural respondents expressed a mixture of positive and negative attitudes. Overall, considerable unrecorded and as yet unutilised economic support for conservation of wild elephants exists in Sri Lanka.
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