Environmental Management

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 972–983

Cranes and Crops: Investigating Farmer Tolerances toward Crop Damage by Threatened Blue Cranes (Anthropoides paradiseus) in the Western Cape, South Africa

  • Julia L. van Velden
  • Tanya Smith
  • Peter G. Ryan
Article

Abstract

The Western Cape population of Blue Cranes (Anthropoides paradiseus) in South Africa is of great importance as the largest population throughout its range. However, Blue Cranes are strongly associated with agricultural lands in the Western Cape, and therefore may come into conflict with farmers who perceive them as damaging to crops. We investigated the viability of this population by exploring farmer attitudes toward crane damage in two regions of the Western Cape, the Swartland and Overberg, using semi-structured interviews. Perceptions of cranes differed widely between regions: farmers in the Swartland perceived crane flocks to be particularly damaging to the feed crop sweet lupin (65 % of farmers reported some level of damage by cranes), and 40 % of these farmers perceived cranes as more problematic than other common bird pests. Farmers in the Overberg did not perceive cranes as highly damaging, although there was concern about cranes eating feed at sheep troughs. Farmers who had experienced large flocks on their farms and farmers who ranked cranes as more problematic than other bird pests more often perceived cranes to be damaging to their livelihoods. Biographical variables and crop profiles could not be related to the perception of damage, indicating the complexity of this human-wildlife conflict. Farmers’ need for management alternatives was related to the perceived severity of damage. These results highlight the need for location-specific management solutions to crop damage by cranes, and contribute to the management of this vulnerable species.

Keywords

Farmers Attitudes Crop damage Cranes Human-wildlife conflict 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia L. van Velden
    • 1
  • Tanya Smith
    • 2
  • Peter G. Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, DST-NRF Centre of ExcellenceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.The Endangered Wildlife TrustJohannesburgSouth Africa

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