Crop damage by African elephants in Kafta Sheraro National Park, Ethiopia
This study was conducted in Kafta-Sheraro wereda in Northwest Tigray region of Ethiopia to assess community take on crop damage by the African Elephant, to identify visiting time of Elephants to agricultural plots and identify any other animals causing crop damage. A total of 240 households were selected from twelve villages using a stratified random sampling procedure. Half of the villages represented samples closer to the park and the other half, represented samples farther away. Whether the farmer owned or rented plots on which crops were grown as well as the distance to the park from the plots were the primary factors significantly (P < 0.05) influencing crop damage by elephants in the area. Time of the elephants visiting the agricultural plots was significantly (P < 0.05) higher at night. In a ranking exercise, among seven species considered, Elephants were ranked second in importance after Warthogs for crop destruction in villages close to the park but last in villages farther away. In the latter area, the most problematic animal was the Warthog followed by the Crested Porcupine. In the former areas where elephants' damage to crops was more frequent, farmers ranked fire as the most effective way of controlling the invasion. The study concludes that bringing the community to the discussion on elephant crop damage, increasing the time of keeping vigil during the night; improving the extension services and training in awareness creation and additional research's should be undertaken to evaluate in monetary terms the value of crop damage.