International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 651

Full Length Research Paper

Combining local ecological knowledge and field investigations to assess diet composition and feeding habit of forest elephants in Campo-Ma’an National Park, Southern Cameroon

Djoko Isaac Blaise
  • Djoko Isaac Blaise
  • Department of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, QC, H4B 1R6, Canada.
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Weladji Robert Bertrand
  • Weladji Robert Bertrand
  • Department of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke St. West, Montreal, QC, H4B 1R6, Canada.
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Paré Patrick
  • Paré Patrick
  • Conservation and Research Department, Zoo de Granby, 525 St-Hubert, Granby, QC, J2G 5P3, Canada.
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  •  Received: 17 March 2022
  •  Accepted: 22 June 2022
  •  Published: 31 July 2022

Abstract

Forest elephants are nocturnal and elusive animals, making it difficult to perform direct observations on them. Data on elephants’ diet and feeding habit are lacking despite most forest elephants’ habitats being lost to anthropogenic activities; yet such knowledge may be important for their conservation, particularly in a human dominated landscape.  Local ecological knowledge and field investigations were combined to assess diet composition and feeding habit of forest elephants in Campo-Ma’an landscape. The study also aimed to evaluate the level of concordance between the two approaches. The study reports that forest elephants in Campo-Ma’an feed on 87 plants species, including crops. Twenty-two of these plant species were reported by both methods, most of them being potential drivers of human-elephant conflict as they are simultaneously used by humans and elephants. Also, field investigations revealed that, to satisfy their energy requirements, forest elephants relied mostly on leaves and fruits during the wet seasons and mostly on barks from trees during the dry seasons. Overall, the two methods appeared to be complementary, despite field investigations yielding fewer species, as we only covered the park partially. We suggest that combining both methods could be a cost-efficient way to address forest elephants ecological and management questions.

 

Key words: Indigenous knowledge, Loxodonta cyclotis, plants species consumed, traditional knowledge.