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The extension of the Asian Elephant’s Elephas maximus range in the northern Western Ghats (Sahyadri) was observed since 2002. This colonization was marked by elephant crop raiding events in the newly colonized Sindhudurg District, where the local community had no experience of living with elephants. The present study was conducted to understand the spatiotemporal patterns of crop depredation (raiding) and to prioritize areas to inform future interventions on managing this ecological phenomenon turned conflict. Data on crop raiding between 2002 and 2015 was obtained from compensation records with the state forest department, and mapped at village scale. Subsequently, we used three indices of crop raiding, viz., Crop Raiding Frequency (CRF), Relative Crop Raiding Intensity (RCRI), and Crop Raiding Vulnerability Index (CRVI). Results show a gradual northern movement of elephants and of the crop raiding zone over the period of 2002–2015. The rankings provided by CRVI, identified villages in a narrow strip of foothills of the Sahyadri mountains as severely vulnerable. With sufficient long term data, CRVI would be a highly useful index for prioritization of villages for resolving human-elephant negative interactions; and other cases of human-wildlife interactions too.
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