Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 8, pp 2029–2050 | Cite as

Seasonality, crop type and crop phenology influence crop damage by wildlife herbivores in Africa and Asia

  • Eva M. GrossEmail author
  • Bibhuti P. Lahkar
  • Naresh Subedi
  • Vincent R. Nyirenda
  • Laly L. Lichtenfeld
  • Oliver Jakoby
Original Paper


Wildlife species damaging crops can cause substantial losses to farmers and at the same time create negative attitudes against wildlife and conservation efforts that may result in negative interactions against wildlife and lead to human-wildlife conflicts (HWCs). For the analysis of negative interactions between humans and terrestrial wildlife species, a globally applicable scheme for monitoring was developed and applied over 6 years in study areas of two Asian (Nepal and India) and two African (Zambia and Tanzania) countries. Factors influencing crop consumption by eight different groups of herbivores were monitored and analyzed using generalized linear models. Seasonality, crop availability, type and the phenological stage of the crop seem to play an important role in the crop damaging behavior of herbivores. Crop consumers such as elephants (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus), zebra (Equus quagga spp.) and boars/hogs (Sus scrofa, Potamocherus larvatus and Phacochoerus africanus) show preferences for harvested and/or maturing crops. Rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) and antelopes/deer (Taurotragus oryx, Aepyceros melampus, Boselaphus tragocamelus and Axis axis) damage the highest numbers of fields with crops at an intermediate growth stage. The findings of this study can inform management of HWCs in areas where people and wildlife coexist. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the benefits of standardized HWC assessments in order to compare data from different continents and between different species to be able to draw generalized conclusions for the management of HWC.


Crop raiding Crop preferences Human-wildlife conflict management Human-wildlife conflict database Land-use planning Conflict mitigation 



This research was a collaborative effort of Awely, Wildlife and People/France, Conservation South Luangwa/Zambia, Tanzania People & Wildlife Fund/Tanzania, National Trust for Nature Conservation/Nepal and Aaranyak/India. The work was funded by various donors of the Awely Red Caps projects and we are grateful to all supporters, especially Amneville Zoo, Fondation Le Pal, La Fondation Ensemble, Man and Nature, Natura Artis Magistra and Toyota Environmental Grants Programme. Our fieldwork would not have been possible without the extensive cooperation and support by the wildlife and conservation agencies DNPW/Zambia, TANAPA and WD/Tanzania, DNPWC/Nepal and Bodoland Territorial Council/India. We thank the Awely Red Caps B. Banda, J. Tembo, R. Chitindi, K. Mwale, E. Zulu, E.L. Kisimir, L. Ndoki, S. Mosses, P. Chaudhari, S.B. Pariyar, R. Chaudhari, R.G. Chaudhary, K. Machary, K. Brahma, A. Basumatary, B. Basumatary and K. Ray for their efforts in assessing HWCs in their respective working areas. We thank A. Molitor for programming the Awely HWC database. For comments on the manuscript we thank M. Niekisch and J. Gross and we thank Y.S. Chia for proofreading. The maps in this publication were gratefully produced by E. Klebelsberg.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 999 kb)
10531_2018_1523_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 16 kb)
10531_2018_1523_MOESM3_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva M. Gross
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Bibhuti P. Lahkar
    • 2
    • 3
  • Naresh Subedi
    • 4
  • Vincent R. Nyirenda
    • 5
    • 6
  • Laly L. Lichtenfeld
    • 7
    • 8
  • Oliver Jakoby
    • 9
  1. 1.Faculty of Biological SciencesGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Awely, Wildlife and PeopleOrléansFrance
  3. 3.AaranyakGuwahatiIndia
  4. 4.National Trust for Nature ConservationKhumaltar LalitpurNepal
  5. 5.Department of Zoology, School of Natural ResourcesCopperbelt UniversityKitweZambia
  6. 6.Department of National Parks and WildlifeChilangaZambia
  7. 7.African People & Wildlife FundBernhardsvilleUSA
  8. 8.Tanzania People & Wildlife FundArushaTanzania
  9. 9.RIFCON GmbHHirschbergGermany

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