Spatiotemporal movement pattern of Asian Elephants Elephas maximus Linnaeus, 1758 in Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra, India

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Milind Digambar Patil
Vinayak Krishna Patil
Ninad Avinash Mungi


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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Author Biographies

Milind Digambar Patil, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Mumbai, Ratnagiri Sub-Center, Maharashtra 415639, India.

MILIND DIGAMBAR PATIL completed MSc. Forestry from the College of Forestry, Dapoli and started his own plant nursery - bamboo and native trees in Sindhudurg district. He is a progressive farmer by profession, and proactive in the areas of research especially the ecological aspects of human-wildlife interactions, forest ecosystem restoration, traditional homegarden farming and aspects of bamboo cultivation.

Vinayak Krishna Patil, College of Forestry, Dr. B.S. Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra 415712, India.

VINAYAK KRISHNA PATIL is an Associate Professor at the College of Forestry, Dapoli. He teaches ecology, biodiversity and wildlife to Forestry students. He conducts research on human-wildlife conflict, biodiversity inventories and threatened species. He has a special liking for spiders whose diversity he studied for his doctoral thesis.

Ninad Avinash Mungi, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001, India.

NINAD AVINASH MUNGI is an invasion ecologist and a PhD scholar at the Wildlife Institute of India, with a decade of experience in modelling species distribution, landscape ecology and remote sensing.


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