Crop diversity and susceptibility of crop fields to elephant raids in eastern Okavango Panhandle, northern Botswana

Published: 27 February 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/jfjx8752c7.1
Tiroyaone Albertinah Matsika


Elephant crop raiding is increasingly and negatively impacting subsistence farmers. Elephants have raided farmers’ crops for many years. However, many studies, which assessed fields' susceptibility, have based this on field characteristics like size and proximity to water sources rather than crop type. However, there still is an existing gap regarding the extent to which different crops individually and cumulatively influence fields’ susceptibility to crop-raiding. Therefore, the objectives of this data is to communicate and enable the assessment of (a) how susceptible individual crops are to elephant crop raiding and (b) how a combination of crops cumulatively influences the fields’ susceptibility to elephant raiding. This study obtained data from fields, which were all raided and assessed by Ecoexist from 2008 until 2018. Incidence risks (IR) and risk value (RV) were computed using an adaptive epidemiological approach. IRs were calculated to examine each crop's susceptibility to crop raiding. The RVs for each farm were then calculated as a cumulative impact of all the crops in the field. The correlation was also used to establish whether crop diversification has an effect on RV (at P<0.05). Confidence intervals will show that the raiding of crops by elephants is increasing or decreasing at certain periods. The confidence intervals will further indicate which crop is most raided by elephants. The findings implicated that crop raiding was changing over time (P=0.00) and crop raiding was significantly different for individual crops. IRs showed the most susceptible crop to elephant raiding and the least vulnerable crop to elephant crop raiding. Field RVs significantly varied depending on which crop was present on the farm. Pearson’s correlation coefficient showed that an increase in the number of crops planted reduced the susceptibility of the whole field. Therefore, the number and type of crops in a field could be used as a determinant for a farmer's field being more or less vulnerable to elephant crop raiding.


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Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources


Animal Conflict