Identifying Hot-Zones of Human-Elephant Conflict in the Coimbatore Forest


Identifying Hot-Zones of Human-Elephant Conflict in the Coimbatore Forest


Research Question

The number of human-elephant conflicts are increasing in villages and cities located along the central Western Ghats of southern India. This escalation in conflict is resulting in damage to crops, plantations, and homes. Elephants are injured or killed by electric fences, trenches and other barriers, while human deaths are attributed to encounters with elephants. These circumstances have pitted ecologists and conservationists against farmers, ranchers, and others who are in favor of economic development. Our research was focused on understanding where and how often these conflicts occur based on the incident data collected in Coimbatore, TN, India.


Findings from this study will provide valuable insights for administrators and policymakers by identifying hot-spots and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation programs that are currently in place.

Methods Used

Incident data collected since 2010 in one of the units within the Coimbatore Forest District were geo-coded and entered in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Clustering and dispersion analysis were used to detect spatial patterns of the geo-coded data.


The goal of this project is to characterize the spatial patterns (where) and frequency (how often) of these conflicts, using geospatial analyses. Information generated through this method will help us identify hot spots, which can be used for devising conflict reduction strategies such as changes to agricultural practices or setting aside additional corridors for animal movement. This project is the first step to analyze the spatial patterns of this conflict and also build the foundation to apply for a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Resulting Publications/Presentations

Peer-reviewed paper (in preparation) and oral presentation (Spring 2016).

Publication Date





Life Sciences

Identifying Hot-Zones of Human-Elephant Conflict in the Coimbatore Forest


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