Temporal patterns of crop raiding by elephants:
A response to changes in forage quality or crop availability?
Temporal patterns of crop raiding by elephants were studied for 13 months in 1996/1997 at Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda. To determine the influence of environmental factors on the timing of raiding, we tested for correlations between crop raiding patterns and the quality of natural forage within the forest as well as crop availability beyond park boundaries.
Crop raiding occurred throughout the year with peaks in dry seasons when crop availability was high. Bananas and maize were the main crops raided. Variations in forage quality were moderate with small seasonal fluctuations and peaks in dry seasons. Monthly crop raiding incidences were not influenced by forage quality but by ripening of maize. Comparison of forage quality and temporal distribution of crop raiding between savanna and forest habitats suggests that crop availability is more important in forest habitats, whereas in savanna habitats large seasonal fluctuations in forage quality have a greater influence on temporal patterns of crop raiding.
African Journal of Ecology
Volume 43 Issue 1 Page 48 - March 2005