A quantification of damage and assessment of economic loss due to crop raiding by Asian Elephant Elephas maximus (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Elephantidae): a case study of Manas National Park, Assam, India

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Naba K. Nath
Sushil K. Dutta
Jyoti P. Das
Bibhuti P. Lahkar


A study was carried out in Manas National Park, Assam in northeastern India between 2007 and 2009 to understand the magnitude of human-elephant conflict through a quantification of damage and assessment of economic loss. A cluster of six villages adjacent to the Park was selected for this study. Five major agricultural crops were grown during the study period of which three were raided by elephants: winter paddy, autumn paddy and pulses. Paddy was the principle crop central to the farmers’ subsistence. Winter paddy was the most cultivated crop and autumn paddy was the least cultivated. The incidence rate of crop raiding was highest for autumn paddy and lowest for pulses. Overall economic loss due to crop raiding was negligible, however at the individual farmer level, it was quite high. The study revealed that human-elephant conflict is not so severe, indicating ample opportunity for human-elephant coexistence in the region. Crop fields adjacent to the Park were particularly vulnerable to crop raiding which necessitates creation of a buffer zone. The frequency of raiding and the extent of damage was found to be significantly less in crop fields which were guarded by farmers. This was due to traditional crop guarding practices being followed in the region, the strengthening of which could effectively reduce annual crop loss and thus human-elephant conflict could be minimized to a large extent.

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How to Cite
Nath, N.K., Dutta, S.K., Das, J.P. and Lahkar, B.P. 2015. A quantification of damage and assessment of economic loss due to crop raiding by Asian Elephant Elephas maximus (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Elephantidae): a case study of Manas National Park, Assam, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 7, 2 (Feb. 2015), 6853–6863. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o4037.6853-63.
Author Biographies

Naba K. Nath, State Resource Centre Dispur, 31, Jatia, Kahilipara Road, Dispur, Guwahati, Assam 781006, India

Naba Krishna Nath is a Programme Coordinator of State Resource Centre Dispur. He completed PhD on HEC in Manas National Park. He completed several research projects on Asian Elephant, Hispid Hare, bird community structure, camera trapping of tigers, etc. He is now working on the social aspects of HEC.

Sushil K. Dutta, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560012, India

Sushil Kumar Dutta, one of the renowned herpetologists of the world and prominent developmental biologist of India, has authored several books and more than 100 research articles. He is a member of different scientific and technical committees of Government of India and involved in conservation policy making.

Jyoti P. Das, Aaranyak, 50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, Beltola, Guwahati, Assam 781028, India

Jyoti P. Das is a field biologist associated with Aaranyak since 2005. He has been conducting research on large mammal ecology in Assam and is presently involved in identifying spatial patterns of HEC and present status of corridors in Golaghat District, Assam.

Bibhuti P. Lahkar, Aaranyak, 50, Samanwoy Path, Survey, Beltola, Guwahati, Assam 781028, India

Bibhuti P. Lahkar is the Programme Secretary of Aaranyak. He has been conducting research and monitoring of the grassland ecosystem dynamics in Manas National Park since 2001. He coordinates the Asian Elephant Research & Conservation Programme of Aaranyak.


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