Behaviour 2019
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Facilitating Cohabitation of Humans and Elephants through a Conservation Behavior Approach
Bruce Schulte1, Sophia Corde1, Lynn Von Hagen1,2, Mwangi Githiru3, Simon Kasaine3, Urbanus Mutwiwa4, Bernard Amakobe3. 1Western Kentucky University -, Bowling Green, Kentucky, United States; 2Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States; 3Wildlife Works, Voi, , Kenya; 4Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, , Kenya

Human-Wildlife interactions have increased as human populations expand into wild lands that are degraded by anthropogenic activities. The options for wildlife are limited, namely, stay within the remaining wild spaces, leave the region altogether, perish, or seek resources within the human landscape. The latter leads to exploitative and interference competition. African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the greater Tsavo region spend much of their time in protected habitat, but their widespread movements can traverse human habitations, especially when wild resources are scarce and human-owned ones, such as crops and water, are available. As ecosystem engineers, elephants are vital to a functional ecosystem, yet people living sympatrically often underappreciate the importance of elephants and overestimate the effect elephants have on crop yield. Deterring elephants from crop fields can help if costs can be managed; however, no singular solution exists to prevent crop raiding. Our project Elephants and Sustainable Agriculture in Kenya encompasses a conservation behavior approach to facilitate cohabitation between humans and elephants. We present an overview and results to date.