Knowledge, Attitudes and, Mitigation Practices of Farmers on Emergency Preparedness of Human-Elephant Conflict in Lahugala PHI Area
By Dr.Charith Indika Jayasinghe
Introduction:Lahugala is situated in Ampara district and marginalised tosouth-east coast of srilanka.The aim of this study is to assess the Knowledge, Attitudes and, Mitigation Practices of Farmers on Emergency Preparedness of Human-Elephant Conflict in Lahugala PHI Area. Objectives: To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and mitigation practices of farmers on emergency preparedness of human-elephant conflict in Lahugala PHI area Specific Objectives To assess the knowledge of farmers in the Lahugala PHI area on emergency preparedness for human-elephant conflict To assess the attitudes of farmers in the Lahugala PHI area on emergency preparedness for human-elephant conflict To assess the mitigation practices of farmers in the Lahugala PHI area on emergency preparedness for human elephant conflict
Methods:A community based descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among farmers in Lahugala PHI division. A structured pre-tested interviewer-administrative questionnaire was used to collect data. A descriptive method of statistical analysis was undertaken in presenting the findings in relation to the specified objectives. Results: A total of 178 respondents participated for the study.Out of the total respondents, 90.4% (n=161) were males. The highest number of participants was the 35-50 age category, 41.6%(n=74).There were 44.9%(n=80) participants who have passed O/L as their educational qualification, and 11.2%(n=20) are only went up to grade 5.Most of the participants have stayed in their current residences for >10 years, 95.5% (n=170). The forest can be reached less than one-hour duration from their residence and crops in all respondents.The most raided crop by elephants was paddy, 97.8%(n=174) and 1.7%(n=3) stated that Bada irignu is also raided by elephants.Out of responders, 49.4%(n=88) think that human-elephant conflict caused by activities of humans and 24.2%(n=43) believe that conflict is caused by natural reasons.Out of responders, 46.0% (n=82) mentioned they would carry the patient and run to the hospital. About 29.0% (n=52) mentioned they would look for airway and breathing.Out of responders, those in the age group 20-35 years, 60.0%(n=30) thought that deterrents are more effective to minimise the conflict; the percentage was similar in other age groups. However, the results were not statistically significant.Most professional farmers are in the view of power fence (50%, n =36) is 3 equally effective as deterrents (47.5%, n=34). Among the farmers employed in the government sector, 71.0% (n=66) thought deterrents are more effective. However, the results were not statistically significant
Conclusion and recommendations: With regards to the knowledge of the farmers, most of
the farmers (97.8%) knew the type and time of elephant raided crops. With regards to the time period of crop damage, property damage and human casualties, it was well known that they have been occurring throughout the year (85.4%,72.5% and 75.8%, respectively). The majority (89.3%) of the farmers were having an attitude that humans and elephants should co-exist. Most professional farmers are in the view of power fence (50%) is equally effective as deterrents (47.5%). Among the farmers who are employed in the government sector, 71.0% thought deterrents are more effective. However, the results were not statistically significant.Most of the farmers (60.7%) in the Lahugala PHI area think that deterrents will reduce the human-elephant conflict to some extent. In our study, 37.1% of farmers believed that a power fence would lessen the conflict. Out of responders, those in the age group 20-35 years, 60.0% thought that deterrents are more effective to minimise the conflict; the percentage was similar in other age groupsFarmers should be given capacity building program for basic life support skills. Knowledge and training should be provided on airway and breathing before transport patients to the hospitals.