Oceans 2 Earth Foundation conducts research into the impacts of human wildlife conflict. These studies currently centre on the mitigation of conflicts between elephants and wildlife communities as well as the prevalence of wildlife in tourism and as entertainment props.

If you have an interest in field studies or research and would like to become involved in a support capacity or as a field study operative, please contact Oceans 2 Earth Foundation via the Contact Us form on this website.

Human Elephant Conflict, Kenya Research by Tracy Leske (2011, 2012)

As the human population grows in Kenya, people encroach rapidly upon wildlife habitat which causes devastating consequences to the livelihoods of both wildlife and human communities alike.  The growing body of literature on this subject matter highlights ‘wild lands in Kenya have been disappearing at a rate of 2 per cent a year’ (McKinley 1998), and as a result, people and animals directly compete for the same resources of water, food and space (Chiemelu 2004; Hanks 2006; Kiiru 1995; Thouless 1994; Thouless&Sakwa 1995). Subsequently, incidences of conflict have increased since the 1980s (Thouless 1994; Thouless&Sakwa 1995), with human-elephant conflict (HEC) causing the most damage.  The main explanations are 1) land-use and geographical changes, 2) human-induced changes in elephant behaviour and socio-ecology; and 3) socio-economic and political changes in human communities (Nelson, Bidwell, &Sillero-Zubiri 2003).  Disturbingly, the conflict often results in serious injury or death (Muruthi 2005).

This study culminated in the following practical outcomes:
1.    Identify socioeconomic factors in rural communities in the region, investigate various dimensions of the relationship between the community of the Mwaluganje ecosystem and elephants, and identify cultural models of human wildlife relationships and attitudes towards wildlife in light of frequently occurring HEC.  
2.    Gain insight into the confidence and perceived success of the MES initiative by engaging with the community through small group discussions and observations.
3.    Measure the social impacts on the community since the establishment of MES through the execution and dissemination of a community survey.
4.    Review and assess former and existing mitigation projects undertaken in HEC zones in Africa including past and existing MES projects and determine the viability of new projects.  
5.    Prepare a comprehensive report that Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary could use for marketing, revenue generating and funding proposals. Thus improving upon existing Sanctuary initiatives to increase revenue through new opportunities.

This study has further developed into field study and project partnerships with the wildlife community and elephant sanctuary. Please see Field Study Opportunities for more details.

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Domesticated elephant populations in Thailand and illegal poaching for restocking

The hypothesis of this study is that, given the conditions and quality of food, the decreased lifespan and a low birth rate of the captive population is expected (Lair, 1997; Ratanakorn, 2002; Hatt & Clauss, 2006). Studies show that social group structure; including age and gender, the ability to range and source appropriate food also have a significant effect on the ability to breed (Hermes et al, 2004; Ishwaran, 1981, Choudhuri, 1999; Ratanakorn, 2002; Sukumar, 2006). This as well as the demand to at least maintain domestic numbers as well as the current trend in preference for young elephants suggests a serious risk to wild populations.

This study poses the question:
1.       What is the current number of young elephants in captivity in Thailand?
2.       How does impact the threat of illegal wild captures to restock domestic populations?

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Economics of Thai Elephant Camps and Mahout Ownership, Cassie Smith (in planning for 2014)

The study aims to explore the current economic impacts and trends within Thailand’s tourism elephant camps and the differences between owner mahouts and the practice of landlord leasing.

This study is currently in planning and more information will become available as a study outline is fully researched and developed. 

The attached document outlines the related welfare and mapping  field research project.

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