People’s attitude towards wild elephants, forest conservation and Human-Elephant conflict in Nilambur, southern Western Ghats of Kerala, India

Conflict with elephants and subsequent economic losses negatively affect residents’ tolerance towards wild elephants. It is important to understand people’s attitude towards wildlife, especially Asian Elephants with an endangered status. A questionnaire survey was undertaken with 510 forest fringe residents of Nilambur North and South Forest Divisions, Kerala, to understand residents’ attitudes towards elephant conservation and Human-Elephant conflict. The majority of the villagers experienced psychological stress and fear associated with movement restriction and chances of encounters with elephants. Crop damage was perceived as the most serious issue, followed by injury or death by encounters with elephants. Elephants show a higher preference for raiding Jackfruit and Plantain than other crops.

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