Does The Economic Value Of The Asian Elephant To Urban Dwellers Exceed Their Cost To The Farmers? A Sri Lankan Study

Bandara, R. and Tisdell, C. (2003) Does The Economic Value Of The Asian Elephant To Urban Dwellers Exceed Their Cost To The Farmers? A Sri Lankan Study. Discussion Paper No. 325, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Bandara, R.
Tisdell, C.
Title Does The Economic Value Of The Asian Elephant To Urban Dwellers Exceed Their Cost To The Farmers? A Sri Lankan Study
School, Department or Centre School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Report Number Discussion Paper No. 325
Publication date 2003-04-01
Subject 270708 Conservation and Biodiversity
340201 Agricultural Economics
Abstract/Summary Urban dwellers and farmers in the areas affected by human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka are often in discord about the conservation of wild elephant in Sri Lanka. The urban dwellers regard this species as a valued resource but farmers in these areas consider it as an agricultural pest that interferes with their farming practices. This dual character of the elephant as both an agricultural pest and an economic asset reflects a difficulty in classifying it as a pest or as a resource. However, it seems that compensating farmers for the damages caused by elephants is essential, if this endangered species is to survive in the long run. This paper uses the results from contingent valuation survey of a sample of urban residents in Colombo in order to examines whether the urban dwellers' willingness to pay for the conservation of elephants is sufficient to compensate farmers for the damage caused by elephants and to raise farmers' tolerance of the present elephants on their farming fields. We find that the annual return for the total extrapolated WTP of urban residents (Rs. 2012.43 million) in Sri Lanka is nearly twice the extent of crop and property damage caused to farmers by elephants (Rs. (Rs.1121.42 million) per annum. This indicates that the policy of compensating farmers by urban dwellers for elephant damage so the farmers will tolerate elephants on their farming fields might be viable. Furthermore, this also suggests that there is a strong economic case for the conservation of the wild elephant population in Sri Lanka, at least at their current population level.
Keyword Asian elephant
Elephas maximus
Elephant conservation
Willingness to pay
Contingent valuation
Sri Lanka

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Created: Fri, 06 Feb 2004, 10:00:00 EST by Belinda Weaver (EA)