08 16/08/2017

Crop raiding and local people’s attitudes on Bawean island

Published paper

A new study led by Chester Zoo’s Field Programme Coordinator for South East Asia, Dr Johanna Rode-Margono, explores the perceptions and attitudes of local people on the island of Bawean towards Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi), a species that sometimes raids crops.

Published in the Asian Journal of Conservation Biology in July 2017, the research demonstrates that despite being subject to crop raiding, Bawean locals still have a positive attitude towards nature and wildlife indicating that future initiatives such as community-based conservation projects and environmental education programmes would be accepted well. In addition to investigating the attitudes of local people on the island regarding crop-raiders, the study also investigates the characteristics and extent of crop raiding by wild animals on the island with a particular focus on Bawean warty pig, an endangered endemic species.

Dr Johanna Rode-Margono tells us more:

The Bawean warty pig is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List, because there are only about 300 animals living in a single population on the 200 km2 large island. Despite this critical conservation status, the species is not legally protected, so hunting as crop protection is common. Understanding the perception of local people towards the crop raider is crucial for the development of community-based solutions to release pressure on the pig population.

Bawean warty pig

Photo credit: Bawean Endemics Conservation Initiative

The researchers interviewed a total of 52 Bawean respondents among two stakeholders groups ‘authorities’ and ‘farmers’ using a semi-structured design. The interviews included open-ended questions and free listing and were conducted in Indonesian language. The data collected were then analysed using a Cultural Consensus Analysis exploring four different domains ‘crop-raiding species’, ‘ecosystem services’, ‘wildlife’ (respondent’s general attitude towards wildlife), ‘nature’ (respondent’s general attitude towards nature).

This study highlighted that three animal groups were reported to cause most of the damage to the fields in Bawean island: insects, monkeys and rats. Warty pigs ranked forth with only five people mentioning them as crop raiders causing damage to rice, cassava, coconut and banana plants.

Overall the attitude of local Bawean people was found to be positive towards nature. However, their attitudes towards wildlife entering and raiding their fields were found to be quite negative but the study states that ‘common education and awareness activities can be used to bridge the gap of understanding between different stakeholders’.

Increasing the understanding of crop-raiding and explaining the uniqueness of Bawean warty pigs to local communities could help create a feeling of pride or at least acceptance towards this endemic species.

Crop raiding and local people’s attitudes on Bawean island, Indonesia, with a focus on the Endangered Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi)

Authors: Rode-Margono, E. J., Blokland, S., Zahra, S., Rademaker, M., Semiadi, G. (2016).   Crop raiding and local people`s attitudes on Bawean island, Indonesia, with a focus on the Endangered Bawean warty pigs (Sus blouchi), Asian Journal of Conservation Biology, 5:1, 16-24.  

Abstract: Crop raiding by wild animals can cause damage to local farmers’ fields with substantial economic losses especially in rural areas. On the other hand, local people’s response to crop damage, such as hunting, can seriously imperil the populations of threatened species. Perceptions and attitudes shape these human-wildlife conflicts. In this study we investigated the extent and characteristics of crop raiding and protection measures employed on Bawean Island, Indonesia, with a focus on the endemic and Endangered Bawean warty pig (Sus blouchi). We furthermore explore the attitudes of local people towards crop raiders, wildlife in general, nature and ecosystem services. We interviewed 52 respondents using a semi-structured design. Data were analysed descriptively and by using Cultural Consensus Analysis (CCA). We found that perceived crop loss was on average 28% and varied depending on the crop type and that different wildlife species targeted different crop types. People ranked pigs fourth after rats, macaques and insects as the most severe crop raiders. Protection measures employed for pigs always entailed the death of the animals. Attitudes towards nature and wildlife in general were positive, but negative towards crop-raiding wildlife. CCA revealed that attitudes in all domains (set of items that are of the same type) were in agreement amongst respondents, except for the domain wildlife. In conclusion, Bawean people are subject to crop raiding, but general perceptions of nature and wildlife are still positive. We expect that conservation initiatives will be accepted by local people and that our results can be used for the design of conservation projects and environmental education programmes.

Read the paper in full here >