Solving human-wildlife conflict is a complex issue and a pressing concern for a wide variety of endangered species, none more so than the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). People living around Vietnam’s Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve, however, want to foster coexistence with elephants, not conflict. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation that looks to understand community perspectives on how to solve human-elephant conflict. Researchers carried out choice-based questionnaires with residents of four villages — Phu Ly, Ma Da, Thanh Son and Ta Lai — where human-elephant conflict is known to occur. In total, 440 households were surveyed and offered different approaches to solving the problem. Estimates of Vietnam’s wild elephant population vary, but it’s thought that there are around 100, mainly distributed along the border with Cambodia and Laos. Habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflict are the current main threats facing the species. Dong Nai Biosphere Reserve covers 969,993 hectares (2.4 million acres) and is home to around 15 elephants, as well as other endangered species such as the Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti). “In general, local people prefer strategies that seek to cultivate coexistence with elephants,” the study authors write. Crucially, community members also preferred alternatives to the current system of management, which relies on patrols and traditional methods of keeping elephants away from farms. Elephants can quickly become habituated to such interventions, the study notes, which reduces their effectiveness. It’s estimated there are only around 100 Asian elephants remaining in Vietnam. Dong Nai…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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