Promoting a Mobile Data Collection System to Improve HWC Incident Recording: A Simple and Handy Solution for Controlling Problem Animals in Southern Africa

  • Sébastien Le BelEmail author
  • David Chavernac
  • Fiona Stansfield


Human–Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is inevitable where humans and wildlife share the same habitat and its limited resources. Mitigation packages include HWC reporting, but this is often ineffective as the information conveyed is generally scattered and inadequate. A new coping strategy has been developed with a view to limiting HWC and avoiding incident peaks at certain periods. The booming mobile phone sector and the popular use of text messages have provided an opportunity to assess the impact of real-time communication systems in HWC mitigation strategies. Preliminary tests were conducted in Mozambique and Zimbabwe with FrontlineSMS, a mobile data collection system. The overall system can be improved by using an Android application such as KoBoCollect on a smartphone enabling easier recording of georeferenced data. Once adopted, HWC early warning systems could be deployed at low cost, improving the global management and conservation of flagship species involved in HWC, such as the elephant.


Human–Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Real-time report Mobile data collection system KoBoCollect Southern Africa 


  1. Anderson J, Pariela F (2005) Strategies to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts in Mozambique. Wildlife Management Working Paper No. 8. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  2. Apte PR, Shah H, Mann D (2001) “5W’s and an H” of TRIZ Innovation. TRIZ Journal (September 2001)Google Scholar
  3. Araman A (2009) Human-elephant conflict in northern Mozambique. Paper presented at the Human Wildlife Conflict Training of Trainers Workshop, 9–11 Dec 2009, HarareGoogle Scholar
  4. Banks K (2007a) And then came the Nigerian elections: The story of FrontlineSMS. Stanford J African Studies 4Google Scholar
  5. Banks K (2007b) FrontlineSMS—a text messaging system for NGOs. Oryx 40(1):17Google Scholar
  6. Barua M, Bhagwat SA, Jadhav S (2013) The hidden dimensions of human–wildlife conflict: health impacts, opportunity and transaction costs. Biol Conserv 157:309–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhammar H, Wooten N (2014) 20 new and powerful conservation tools. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Blog. New and Powerful Conservation Tools. Accessed 9 Feb 2015
  8. Breitenmoser U, Angst C, Landry J-M, Breitenmoser-Würsten C, Linnell JDC, Weber JM (2005) Non-lethal techniques for reducing depredation. In: Rosie Woodroffe STAR (ed) People and wildlife. Conflict or coexistence? vol 9, Conservation biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 49–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brigida D (2011) 25+ Nature and Wildlife Mobile Apps. Wildlife Promise. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  10. Campfire (2007) PAC statistics 2002-2006. Campfire Association, HarareGoogle Scholar
  11. Chardonnet P, des Clers B, Fischer J, Gerhold R, Jori F, Lamarque F (2002) The value of wildlife. Revscitech Off Int Epiz 21(1):15–51Google Scholar
  12. Chavernac D, Hendrikx P, LeBel S, Lancelot R (2015) Les nouvelles technologies de l’information appliquées à la vigilance en santé animale. Bulletin épidémiologique, santé animale et alimentation (No. 66/Spécial vigilance vis-à-vis des maladies exotiques):51–54Google Scholar
  13. Chomba C, Senzota R, Chabwela H, Mwitwa J, Nyirenda V (2012) Patterns of human-wildlife conflicts in Zambia, causes, consequences and management responses. J Ecol Nat Environ 4(12):303–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. CITES (2010) African elephant action plan. Fifteenth meeting of the conference of the parties Doha (Qatar), 13–25 March 2010Google Scholar
  15. Costa A (2007) Management oriented monitoring system in Bazaruto National Park. Results from 2006. Marine programme. WWFGoogle Scholar
  16. Cressa D, Zommers Z (2014) Emerging Technologies: Smarter ways to fight wildlife crime. UNEP Global Environmental Alert Service. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  17. Cumming D, Jones B (2005) Elephants in Southern Africa: Management issues and options. WWF/SARPO Occasional PaperGoogle Scholar
  18. Czudek R, LeBel S (2011) FAO/BIO-HUB Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Toolkit: helping people to prevent and mitigate conflict with wild animals. Paper presented at the Southern African Wildlife Management Association Symposium, Hartenbos Holidays Resort, Southern Cape, 18–21 September 2011Google Scholar
  19. Decker DJ, Purdy KG (1988) Toward a concept of wildlife acceptance capacity in wildlife management. Wildl Soc Bull 16(1):53–57Google Scholar
  20. Déglise C, Suggs LS, Odermatt P (2012) SMS for disease control in developing countries: a systematic review of mobile health application. J Telemed Telecare 18:273–281Google Scholar
  21. Deloitte LLP (2012) Sub-Saharan Africa mobile observatory 2012. GSM, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Dickman AJ (2010) Complexities of conflict: the importance of considering social factors for effectively resolving human–wildlife conflict. Animal Conservation (13): 458–466. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00368.x
  23. Diggle R (2006) Feasibility for a community-based wildlife monitoring system for the Srepok wilderness area, Cambodia. Report on the feasibility for a community-based wildlife monitoring system for the Srepok wilderness area. WWF, IIED, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Distefano E (2004) Human-wildlife conflict worldwide: collection of case studies, analysis of management strategies and good practices. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  25. Drucker P (2009) “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” MarketCulture Blog, vol 2015Google Scholar
  26. FAO (2009) Human-wildlife conflict in Africa: causes, consequences and management strategies, vol 157. Forestry paper. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  27. Formenty P, Odugleh-Kolev A, Grein T, Abela-Rider B, Merianos A, Drager-Dayal R, Drury P, Eremin S, Pessoa-Da-Silva C, Slattery R, Ryan M (2011) From forecasting to control of emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin: linking animal and human health systems. Paper presented at the Animal Health and Biodiversity—Preparing for the Future Compendium of the OIE Global Conference on Wildlife 23–25 February 2011, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. Goredema L (2009) Relevance of HWC to CBNRM. WWF, Regional CBNRM ProjectGoogle Scholar
  29. Gow GA, Waidyanatha N (2010) Using mobile phones in a real-time biosurveillance program: Lessons from the frontlines in Sri Lanka and India. In: IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS’10), Wollongong, NSW, 16 Dec 2009Google Scholar
  30. Graham MD, Adams WM, Kahiro GN (2011) Mobile phone communication in effective human-elephant conflict management in Laikipia, Kenya. Oryx 46(1):137–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. GRASP (2014) Mobile conservation on the go! (GRASP). Great Apes Survival Partnership. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  32. Happold DCD (1995) The interactions between humans and mammals in Africa in relation to conservation: a review. Biodivers Conserv 4:395–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Haricha FK, Treydtea AC, Sauerborna J, Owusu EH (2013) People and wildlife: conflicts arising around the Bia conservation area in Ghana. J Nat Conserv 21(5):342–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hart JA, Smith KH (2001) Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Central African Pilot Project. Technical report no 3 monitoring of elephant poaching, anti-poaching effort, and law enforcement in central Africa. CITESGoogle Scholar
  35. Hoare RE (2001) Management implications of new research on problem elephants. Pachyderm 30:44–48Google Scholar
  36. Hoare RE (2002) Towards a standardized data collection protocol for human-elephant conflict situation in Africa. In: Human-wildlife conflict: identifying the problem and possible solutions. Albertine Rift Technical Report Series, vol 1. WCSGoogle Scholar
  37. IFAW (2015) Help rescue wildlife in NSW: download our app. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  38. ILRI (2009) Climate livestock and poverty—challenges at the interface. International Livestock Research Institute, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  39. Jack W, Suri T (2010) The Economics of M-PESA. August 2010 edn. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  40. Jeke L (2014) Human-wildlife coexistence in Omay communal land, Nyaminyami Rural District Council in Zimbabwe. Mediterr J Soc Sci 5 (20):809, 818Google Scholar
  41. Jung C (2011) Mobile data collection systems: a review of the current state of the field. CNES, NOMAD: HumanitariaN Operations Mobile Acquisition of Data: 25Google Scholar
  42. Kojwang HO (2010) Estimating and reflecting the economic values of natural resources in national accounts: a focus on non-consumptive use of wildlife, including examples from the forest sector. FAO & CIC, BudapestGoogle Scholar
  43. Kreutzer T (2014) KoBoToolbox used by OCHA in Central African Republic. OCHA. Accessed 15 Feb 2015
  44. Krogerus M, Tschäppeler R (2008) The decision book: 50 models for strategic thinking. Kein & Aber, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  45. Lamarque F (2010) Memorandum of the consultancy mission carried out in Maputo, Mozambique by Francois Lamarque. Programm Officer—IGF Foundation, IGF/FAOGoogle Scholar
  46. LeBel S (2011a) International consultant on Human-Wildlife Conflict mitigation and HWC database development—Mission report. FAO—Projects TCP/MOZ/3301 and TCP/ZIM/3301, Maputo, 14–23 March 2011Google Scholar
  47. LeBel S (2011b) Mission Report In Mozambique. Project Number: TCP/MOZ/3301. International consultant on Human-Wildlife Conflict mitigation and HWC database development. FAO/DNTF, MaputoGoogle Scholar
  48. LeBel S (2011c) Mission report in Zimbabwe (TCP/ZIM/3301) International consultant on Human-Wildlife Conflict mitigation and HWC database development. Preliminary Report Chiredzi, Harare, Hwange, Mbire. FAO, Harare, June 2011Google Scholar
  49. LeBel S, Czudek R (2011) Promoting SMS to manage Human-Wildlife Conflicts, a first tentative to improve the control and understanding of such a problem in Southern Africa. Paper presented at the Southern African Wildlife Management Association Symposium, Hartenbos Holidays Resort, Southern Cape, 18–21 September 2011,Google Scholar
  50. LeBel S, Mapuvire G, Czudek R (2010) Human-Wildlife Conflict Toolkit: comprehensive solutions for farmers and communities. Unasylva 236(61):12–13Google Scholar
  51. LeBel S, Murwira A, Mukamuri B, Czudek R, Taylor R, LaGrange M (2011) Human Wildlife Conflicts in Southern Africa: Riding the Whirl Wind in Mozambique and in Zimbabwe. The importance of biological interactions in the study of biodiversity. InTech, RijekaGoogle Scholar
  52. LeBel S, Chavernac D, Czudek R, Mapuvire G (2014a) Data mobile data collection system as an option to foster grass root wildlife management: The case study of Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation In Africa. Paper presented at the 6th IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney, 12–19 November 2014Google Scholar
  53. LeBel S, Chavernac D, Mapuvire G, Cornu G (2014b) FrontlinesSMS as an early warning network for human-wildlife mitigation: Lessons learned from tests conducted in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. EJISDC 60 (6):1–13Google Scholar
  54. LeBel S, Daniel C, Gaidet N, Vliet Nv, Nguinguiri JC (2014c) Addressing information gaps on hunting sustainability in Central Africa: opportunities and limits of innovative technologies. In: 51st Annual meeting of the association for tropical biology and conservation, Cairns, 20–24 July 2014Google Scholar
  55. Lee PC, Graham MD (2006) African elephants Loxodonta africana and human–elephant interactions: implications for conservation. International Zoo Yearbook 40:9–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McGinnis P (2008) Background on Urban Deer Management. Urban Deer Management Plan, Grand HavenGoogle Scholar
  57. Nelson A, Bidwell P, Sillero-Zubiri C (2003) A review of human-elephant conflict management strategies. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University, People and Wildlife InitiativeGoogle Scholar
  58. Osborn FV, Parker GE (2002) Living with elephants II: A manual for implementing an integrated programme to reduce crop loss to elephants and to improve livelihood security of small-scale farmers. Mid Zambezi Elephant Project, Harare
  59. Rao M (2012) Mobile Africa report 2012. Sustainable innovation ecosystems. MobileMondayGoogle Scholar
  60. Robertson C, Nelson TA (2010) Review of software for space-time disease surveillance. Int J Health Geogr 9(16):8Google Scholar
  61. Robertson C, Sawford K, Daniel SLA, Nelson TA, Stephen C (2010) Mobile phone–based infectious disease surveillance system, Sri Lanka. Emerg Infect Dis 16(10):1524–1531Google Scholar
  62. Rosa P, Joubert P (2009) Wildlife exploitation in Sub-Saharan Africa: an entrepreneurship analysis. Paper presented at the AGSE 2009Google Scholar
  63. Rosewell A, Ropa B, Randall H, Dagina R, Hurim S, Bieb S, Datta S, Ramamurthy S, Mola G, Zwi AB, Ray P, MacIntyre R (2013) Mobile phone-based syndromic surveillance system, Papua New Guinea. Emerg Infect Dis 19(11):1811–1818CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  64. Saju MT (2012) How SMS saves humans from elephants in the tea meadows of Valparai. The Time of India. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  65. Sillero-Zubiri C, Sukumar R, Treves A (2006) Living with wildlife: the roots of conflict and the solutions. In: Macdonald D, Service K (eds) Key topics in conservation biology. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp 255–272Google Scholar
  66. Sitatai NW, Walpole MJ, Leader-Williams N (2005) Factors affecting susceptibility of farms to crop raiding by African elephants: using a predictive model to mitigate conflict. J Appl Ecol 42:1175–1182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. SPNL (2014) The Top 9 Wildlife Apps For Your Mobile Phone. BirdLife International. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  68. Taylor RD (2010) Save Valley Conservancy—MOMS user’s manual. Module1: anti-poaching. Patrol report summary and illegal activity report. Version 1 SVCGoogle Scholar
  69. Taylor RD, Martin RB (1987) Effects of veterinary fences on wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe. Department of National Parks and Wild Life Management, HarareGoogle Scholar
  70. TRAFFIC (2014) New app to build awareness and information on illegal wildlife trade in South-East Asia. Traffic. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  71. Turrettini E (2008) Text messages save elephants’ lives, villagers’ crops. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  72. Vital Wawe Consulting (2009) mHealth for development: the opportunity of mobile technology for healthcare in the developing world. UN Foundation-Vodafone Foundation Partnership, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  73. White J, White N (2011) Tracking the wild. Accessed 12 Feb 2015
  74. Woodroffe R, Thirgood S, Rabinowitz A (eds) (2005) People and wildlife: conflicts or coexistence? vol 9, Conservation Biology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  75. WWF (2005) Human wildlife conflict manual. WWF-SARPO, HarareGoogle Scholar
  76. WWF (2008) Common ground—reducing human wildlife conflict. Species Programme, GlandGoogle Scholar
  77. WWF (2014) Wildlife mobile. Accessed 12 Feb 2015

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sébastien Le Bel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David Chavernac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fiona Stansfield
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.ES Department, BSEF Research UnitCIRADMontpellier, Cedex 5France
  2. 2.BIOS Department, CMAE Research UnitElephant Research and Conservation Unit, CIRADChiredziZimbabwe

Personalised recommendations