Assessment and Reduction of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) and Capacity-Building in Endau-Rompin - Improvements to Local Livelihoods.
A species listed as 'Endangered' in the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) still occur in isolated populations across much of their historical range, but many populations are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and direct conflict with human. Peninsular Malaysia still has extensive tracts of forest that are habitat for elephants and other endangered species, including tigers. The Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Program (WCS) has been working with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and Johor National Parks Corporation (JNPC) for several years to estimate the number of elephants in Taman Negara (National Park) and Endau-Rompin (Johor) National Park. The work consists of conserving and managing elephants in their natural habitat. As part of conservation interventions, mitigating their co-existence with local communities is considered a long term priority. This project will take place in Year 5, of a 10-year project. In years 1 through 4, background recces, human-elephant conflicts (HEC) surveys, fundamental capacity building and mitigation trials were initiated in three villages around Endau-Rompin National Park. This project will see expansion of HEC mitigation work and building of the capacity to handle HEC survey/mitigation methods, data analysis and reporting skills, which anticipates a significant reduction in HEC rates in the area. HEC in Malaysia mainly involves crop depredation by elephants that leave forested areas to feed on adjacent croplands, plantations and orchards which results in damage to crops and property and sometimes, injuries to people and elephant. Thus local communities need to be brought on board in the mitigation process to build support and understanding on the need for both HEC mitigation as well as for elephant conservation. The overall goal is to seek a balance between development and conservation of wild elephant populations through the following activities. Monitoring the extent and distribution of elephant crop depredations using a selected HEC methodology, strengthen and expand existing mitigation schemes in local villages, hold regular meetings and discussions with village stakeholders and authorities to review mitigation measures, successes and chanllenges, and conduct relevant traning for patrolling the perimeter, HEC surveys, protocols, mitigation measures for local communities and other stakeholders.

The overall goal of this project is to help balance development and conservation which will help conserve wild elephant populations in the Endau-Rompin Landscape. The specific objectives for the fifth year of this project, for which funding is sought through this proposal, are:
1. To continue to conduct human–elephant conflict monitoring around Endau-Rompin (Johor) National Park.
2.To continue to test and extend crop protection methods around Endau-Rompin (Johor) National Park.
3.To continue to conduct and facilitate training of Government and JNPC staff, and other stakeholders (where relevant) in HEC survey, mitigation, and management methods, as well data analysis and reporting skills.

This project and its objectives are aligned with GEF’s focal area of ‘biological diversity’, which is one of its largest portfolio in Malaysia. The project seeks to maintain a middle ground between saving an endangered species and its habitat while maintaining safe livelihoods and lifestyles for communities living nearby.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program
Country:
Malaysia
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Operational Phase:
Phase 4
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 36,327.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
MAL/SGP/OP4/Y3/RAF/2010/02
Start Date:
8/2010
End Date:
8/2012
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
In the village sites, the female farmers – especially single parents – faced more specific challenges in working on their farm for maintaining their livelihood. They play multiple roles i.e. shouldering agricultural responsibilities, being providers and caretakers for the family and have different socioeconomic needs. Their ability to generate income is also limited in terms of physical strength and endurance. Community guarding and siren fences in areas like Kg. Mentelong has helped reduce crop-raids in unguarded fields belonging to single mothers. Unlike prior circumstances where night guards were only able to chase away elephants in sight the siren fence provided means for night guards to locate elephant breach at areas away from direct sight and help chase elephants away. The elephant surveys e.g. electric fence monitoring, and elephant trail mapping and monitoring has empowered the indigenous women DPAs to be trained in survey skills and techniques, and collecting scientific information to link findings to elephant conservation. In addition to field surveys, these women DPAs were also trained to do data entry to help key-in field data and one has been trained in basic data analyses: downloading GPS track information, converting the information to GIS files, and then transposing the files using ArcGIS software to create maps of trails around HEC affected villages. In Kg. Mentelong, the female DPA who was initially assisting to convey information between WCS and villagers and as a note-taker for boundary patrols along the siren fence, has embraced her role in leading data collection of boundary patrols, crop damage assessments, and village teams to map out elephant trails for the reconstruction of the siren fence to allow for elephant use of the swamp within the rubber fields.
Notable Community Participation
Local communities form a significant part of the training workshops and discussions to be held on HEC. Training and capacity-building will be done for local communities to understand the concept of human-elephant co-existence, construct elephant deterrents such as siren fences, towers and other proven methods of preventing or minimising destruction caused by elephants. Local communities will be fully engaged and liaised with throughout the HEC management process. This includes consultation on acceptable measures of mitigation; and community involvement in long-term monitoring and data collection. Benefits to the local communities include: • HEC mitigation costs (including tools and equipment) are borne by the project. • Sirens on fences allow less human resources to guard the fences at night. • Destruction of villagers’ seedlings will be significantly reduced, resulting in better harvest rates. • The mitigation measure encourages a system of gotong-royong rota to guard certain peripheries. This encourages greater cohesion in local communities. • Local communities get early warning of any new elephant entry points from information gathered from the Project’s monitoring activities. • Local communities gain employment opportunities as most of the staff in the HEC teams are from there. Community participation in HEC mitigation is integral to the successful implementation of this project’s goals. Groundwork has already been done in liaising with local communities. Permission has been sought from community leaders and discussions are already underway to work with relevant local communities in the project area. This might include data collection, monitoring reporting, and the construction of structures and patrolling as part of mitigation measures. Beyond Year 5, community members will be trained to conduct basic monitoring, and conservation education programs will be initiated to make sure that local community involvement is sustained in the long term.
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