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Title: Human-primate conflict : an interdisciplinary evaluation of wildlife crop raiding on commercial crop farms in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Author: Findlay, Leah Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 0652
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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Understanding and addressing conflict between farmers and wildlife due to crop raiding is of increasing conservation concern. Raiding impacts farmers’ livelihoods, reduces tolerance to wildlife and often results in lethal methods of retaliation. Although crop raiding occurs on commercial as well as subsistence farms, there are very few quantitative accounts of on-farm primate behaviour or techniques to deter primates from raiding commercial farms. Working in partnership with commercial crop farmers, this study was conducted in Blouberg Municipality, South Africa. Using systematic behavioural observations, camera trapping techniques, vegetation transects, interviews and a workshop, this research adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine farmers’ perceptions of nature, behaviour of primates, and crop damage by other wildlife to understand the nature and extent of crop raiding. This information was used to develop and evaluate effective and locally appropriate deterrents to wildlife crop raiding. The farmer-baboon relationship is complicated and filled with ambiguity. Farmers are happy to see baboons in the wild, but on the farm baboons are not welcome. High population numbers and the inability to control baboons are particular concerns for commercial farmers. Baboons were the dominant raiders, whose rates of raiding were influenced most by natural food availability. Vervet monkey raiding was also frequent and was influenced by the presence of baboons on the farm. In addition to primates, 18 other wildlife species were observed within crop fields. Farmers’ perceptions were influenced by duration of raiding, average group size and overlap between farmer activity and crop raiding. Farmers underestimated crop loss to wildlife, but were able to accurately estimate where most damage occurs. The use of bells as an alarm system was not effective at alerting field guards to the presence of vervet raiders. Motion-activated sounds were effective at reducing baboon raiding for a short time, but baboons soon habituated. Electric fencing was effective at keeping most wildlife out of crop fields. The information obtained throughout the thesis was used to provide recommendations to commercial crop farmers to reduce crop raiding by wildlife.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available