Camera traps to study the forest elephant's (Loxodonta cyclotis) response to chilli pepper repellent devices in Gamba, Gabon

Nature Conservation Research: Zapovednaâ Nauka. 2018;3(2):26-35 DOI 10.24189/ncr.2018.027


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Nature Conservation Research: Zapovednaâ Nauka

ISSN: 2500-008X (Print)

Publisher: Fund for Support and Development of Protected Areas

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation

Country of publisher: Russian Federation

Language of fulltext: Russian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Steeve Ngama (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège; Agronomic and Forestry Research Institute, National Center for Scientific and Technological Research, Libreville, Gabon)
Lisa Korte (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Gabon Biodiversity Program, USA)
Mireille Johnson (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Gabon Biodiversity Program, USA)
Cédric Vermeulen (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège; )
Jérôme Bindelle (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège; )


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 13 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

In Central Africa, Gabon is a forested country with a rich biodiversity where conflict between wild animals and humans is common and causes innumerable damage to crops. The worst crop raiders are elephants, which can destroy an entire crop in a single night. These raids threaten people's livelihoods as well as elephants because angry farmers often retaliate with killing campaigns against crop raiding elephants. To keep elephants out of farms the use of chilli pepper is recommended as a non-lethal method. But only a few studies have tested methods to use chilli pepper to deter elephants in Gabon. Results from this study give a starting point for understanding how forest elephants react to devices using chilli pepper as a deterrent based on sequential camera trap photos. A chilli pepper device that resulted in splashing concentrate on the elephant face proved to be the most effective at deterring elephants. Surprisingly, chilli pepper concentrate directly applied to mango fruits did not deter elephants from eating the fruits, although it probably caused some discomfort. To make effective deterrent devices with chilli pepper future works need to focus on exploring practices to reach the elephant face with the least, safe quantity of chilli pepper and which will have enough strong deterrent effect.