Human–elephant conflict is a significant problem in Africa, undermining biodiversity conservation and development efforts. Early warning of crop raiding and a coordinated response from landholders and wildlife authorities are important for effective management of this conflict. Mobile phones have spread rapidly in rural Africa and could potentially be used to improve communication and increase the effectiveness of responses to crop raids by elephants. We analyse changes in patterns of communication around human–elephant conflict incidents before and after the arrival of mobile phone technology in Laikipia County in north-central Kenya, and the performance of mobile phone communication in a trial at three sites. We show that mobile phones can improve communication and reduce human–elephant conflict where there is good mobile coverage and widespread adoption. Conservation projects have much to gain from engaging with mobile phone technology.
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