Master of Environmental Studies Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Environmental Studies 2008.


Though African elephants (Loxodonta africana) are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), efforts to protect and conserve the species have been complicated by human-elephant conflict (HEC). Land conflicts may be the greatest long-term threat to elephant conservation because as people and elephants inhabit the same areas and share scarce resources, there will be more pressure to encroach on elephant habitat for human uses, and this will get worse as human populations continue to grow. This paper looks at factors that contribute to HEC and examines measures that are being taken to reduce conflict. The paper focuses on two field studies: an analysis of Elephant Pepper Development Trust's (EPDT) use of chilli peppers in Zambia to reduce incidents of elephant crop raiding and an assessment of farmers' experiences with HEC in the southern part of the Okavango Delta. This paper is intended to provide an overview of the social, economic, and environmental dynamics of HEC and the resulting management implications for African elephant conservation.


African elephant, human-animal conflict, crop raiding, land use, and conservation



Date Posted: 10 September 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.