Asian elephants Elephas maximus are an endangered species and human—elephant conflict (HEC) is the major threat to their survival. HEC causes crop and property loss and occasionally results in the death of both humans and elephants in Nepal. Elephants are responsible for more than 40% of the human—wildlife conflict, 70% of the wildlife-caused human casualties, and a 25% loss in crop production in Nepal. Identification of the factors associated with elephant invasion can help mitigate conflict by allowing residents and representatives to address those factors. This study used face-to-face interviews in 1182 households in villages affected by elephants in southern Nepal using a structured questionnaire to understand how land-use practices are related to HEC regionally. Almost all (99%) of the surveyed houses had some damage from elephants within the past five years. A stepwise binary logistic regression showed that practices such as the growing of traditional crops (rice and large maize fields), maintaining bananas, and home alcohol production increase the chances of elephant attacks. Our data also revealed that HEC is most intense in winter months, when rice is harvested. People residing near protected areas had positive attitudes towards elephants, as they received economic benefits from ecotourism and improved mitigation practices such as electric fences. Changing some land-use practices could reduce HEC in the region. Therefore, alternative crops should be explored to reduce HEC in southern Nepal. Other management recommendations include moving fruit trees away from homes or fencing community orchards. Although home alcohol production is illegal in Nepal, those engaging in the practice should not ferment alcohol in their homes. Finally, growing bamboo on the edge of settlements would engage elephants and allow for a response to repel them before severe crop or house damage occurs.
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