Willingness of Sri Lankan Farmers to pay for a Scheme to Conserve Elephants: An Empirical Analysis
This paper explores the feasibility of adopting an integrated economic approach to raise farmers’ tolerance of the presence of elephants on their farming lands. Responses to this approach were sought from a sample of farmers in the areas affected by human elephant conflict in the northwestern province of Sri Lanka. Results from a contingent valuation survey of their willingness to pay for a scheme to conserve elephants are also reported. Two separate logit regression analyses were undertaken to examine the factors that influence the farmers’ responses for the payment principle question and their opinions on the integrated economic approach. Although found that the majority of the respondents expressed their willingness to pay for the proposed scheme and supported for the implementation of the integrated approach, we have insufficient data yet to determine if their support and financial contribution would be sufficient to set up this programme and also to predict its economic viability. Nevertheless, the overall finding of this study provides an improved economic assessment of the farmers’ attitudes towards the wild elephant in Sri Lanka. At the same time the study shows that, contrary to commonly held assumptions, farmers in this developing country, do support wildlife conservation.
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