Perception and attitudes of local communities towards wild elephant-related problems and conservation in Xishuangbanna, southwestern China

  • Qingcheng He
  • Zhaolu WuEmail author
  • Wai Zhou
  • Rui Dong


The problem of wild elephants, or human-elephant conflict (HEC), influences the daily life of local communities and hinders the conservation of wild elephants. The perception and attitudes of local communities who inhabited the frontiers between human activities and wild elephant movement are important to the mitigation of the HEC and conservation of wild elephants. To analyze the perception and attitudes of local communities, the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was used in the investigation of 423 interviewees from 22 villages in Xishuangbanna from July 2009 to February 2010. The results indicated that local communities had their views on the elephant-related problems. In field survey, we found that 66.5% of interviewees were willing to support, participate in, and assist in the conservation of wild elephants; 33.5% of interviewees were opposed or indifferent to such conservation, because their livelihoods and even their lives were endangered by wild elephants. These views and attitudes were influenced by local communities’ perception of HEC, education level, gender and self-interest. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the diverse views among local communities and balance profits and costs in addressing HEC.


human-elephant conflict (HEC) local community participatory rural appraisal (PRA) Xishuangbanna 


  1. Agrawal A, Gibson C C, 1999. Enchantment and disenchantment: The role of community in natural resource conservation. World Development, 27(4): 629–649. doi: 10.1016/S0305-750X(98) 00161-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen Mingyong, Wu Zhaolu, Dong Yonghua et al., 2006. Research on Asian Elephant in China. Beijing: Science Press, 121–148. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  3. Ericsson G, Heberlein T A, 2003. Attitudes of hunters, locals, and the general public in Sweden now that the wolves are back. Biological Conservation, 111(2): 149–159. doi: 10.1016/ S0006-3207(02)00258-6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fernando P, Wikramanayake E, Weerakoon D et al., 2005. Per ceptions and patterns of human-elephant conflict in old and new settlements in Sri Lanka: Insights for mitigation and management. Biodiversity and Conservation, 14(10): 2465–2481. doi: 10.1007/s10531-004-0216-zCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hoare R E, Du Toit J T, 1999. Coexistence between people and elephants in African savannas. Conservation Biology, 13(3): 633–639. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.1999.98035.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. IUCN, 2010. IUCN red list of threatened species. Available at: (December 20, 2010)
  7. Lang Xuedong, Peng Mingchun, Wang Chongyun et al., 2008. Assessment of Asian elephant habitat quality status quo in Nangunhe valley, China. Journal of Yunnan University (Natural Sciences), 30(4): 415–423. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  8. Li Zengjia, Ma Youxin, Li Hongmei et al., 2008. Relation of land use and cover change to topography in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China. Journal of Plant Ecology, 32(5): 1091–1103. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  9. Li Zhengling, Chen Mingyong, Wu Zhaolu et al., 2009. Perception and attitudes of rural community to the construction of Asian elephant conservation corridors in Xishuangbanna. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 20(6): 1483–1487. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. Lin Liu, Feng Limin, Zhao Jianwei et al., 2006. A preliminary study on designing ecological corridors in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve with 3S techniques. Journal of Beijing Normal University (Natural Science), 42(4): 405–409. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  11. Liu Yufeng, 2005. Application research on the participating popularization in agricultural technology. Review of China Agricultural Science and Technology, 7(1): 68–71. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  12. Madhusudan M D, 2003. Living amidst large wildlife: Livestock and crop depredation by large mammals in the interior villages of Bhadra Tiger Reserve, South India. Environmental Management, 31(4): 466–475. doi: 10.1007/s00267-002-2790-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Naughton-Treves L, 1997. Farming the forest edge: Vulnerable places and people around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Geographical Review, 87(1): 27–46. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.1997.tb00058.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Naughton-Treves L, 1998. Predicting patterns of crop damage by wildlife around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Conservation Biology, 12(1): 156–168. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.1998.96346.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nyhus P, Tilson R, 2004. Agroforestry, elephants, and tigers: Balancing conservative theory and practice in human-dominated landscapes of Southeast Asia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 104(1): 87–97. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2004. 01.009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. O’Connell-Rodwell C E, Rodwell T, Rice M et al., 2000. Living with the modern conservation paradigm: Can agricultural communities co-exist with elephants? A five-year case study in East Caprivi, Namibia. Biological Conservation, 93(3): 381–391. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(99)00108-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rao K S, Maikhuri R K, Nautiyal S et al., 2002. Crop damage and livestock depredation by wildlife: A case study from Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, India. Journal of Environmental Management, 66(3): 317–327. doi: 10.1006/jema.2002.0587Google Scholar
  18. Steinmetz R, Chutipong W, Seuaturin N, 2006. Collaborating to Conserve Large Mammals in Southeast Asia. Conservation Biology, 20(5): 1391–1401. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00505.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sukumar R, 2006. A brief review of the status, distribution and biology of wild Asian elephant. International Zoo Yearbook, 40(1): 1–8. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1090.2006.00001.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sun Gang, Xu Qing, Jin Kun et al., 1998. The historical withdrawal of wild Elephas maximus in China and its relationship with human population pressure. Journal of Northeast Forestry University, 26(4): 47–50. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  21. Tchamba M N, 1996. History and present status of human-elephant conflict in the Waza-Logone region, Cameroon, West Africa. Biology Conservation, 75(1): 35–41. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(95)00040-2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Thouless C R, Sakwa J, 1995. Shocking elephants: Fences and crop raiders in Laikipia district, Kenya. Biological Conservation, 72(1): 99–107. doi: 10.1016/0006-3207(94)00071-WCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wainwright C, Wehrmeyer W, 1998. Success in integrating conservation and development? A study from Zambia. World Development, 26(6): 933–944. doi: 10.1016/S0305-750X(98) 00027-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Wang Sung, Xie Yan, 2009. China Species Red List Vol. Vert II ebrates Part 2. Beijing: Higher Education Press, 333–334. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  25. Wu Zhaolu, 1997. Application of Participation Rural Appraisal (PRA) method in the study of species and landscape variation. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 8(supp.): 89–94. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  26. Wu Zhaolu, 2008. Management Achievement Evaluation of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve. Beijing: Science Press, 145–150. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Xu Jianying, Chen Liding, Lu Yihe et al., 2004. Local people’s responses to policies in Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan. Biodiversity Science, 12(6): 639–645. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  28. Yang Yuming, Tang Fanglin, 2008. Study on the Master Planning of Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve. Beijing: Science Press, 1–10. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  29. Yu Yizun, Wang Kelin, Chen Hongsong et al., 2009. Farmer’s perception and response towards environmental migration and restoration plans based on participatory rural appraisal: A case study of emigration region in the karst Southwestern China. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 29(3): 1170–1180. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  30. Zhang L, Wang N, 2003. An initial study on habitat conservation of Asian elephant (Elephas maxinus), with a focus on human elephant conflict in Simao, China. Biological Conservation, 112(3): 453–459. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00335-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural Ecology, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecology and GeobotanyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Bureau of Xishuangbanna National Nature ReserveJinghongChina

Personalised recommendations