10.3.1 Data Collection

Literature analysis was used to collect historical data about the TEK of different ethnic groups in Xishuangbanna and to learn the roles of such TEK in the percep­tion, protection, and utilization of wild elephants in the past half century.

Investigation research carried out in villages, where elephant-related problems happened, to collect and to analyze data of local communities’ view on the wild elephant-related problems, elephant conservation, and the social and economic development of the villages. A participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was applied in investigation research. PRA is a method of “hearing communities, learning and perceiving their needs and development with them” (Liu 2005). It was widely used to analyze and estimate the current local situation and development planning through informal interviews with inhabitants (Yu et al. 2009), as well as the change of species and landscape in rural areas (Wu 1997a). A questionnaire was used to collect data in detail. It contained two parts: (1) the interviewees’ view on the environment, resources, and development of the villages they lived in; and (2) the interviewees’ knowledge of wild elephant conservation and problems, including attitudes toward conservation and who benefited from it, their views on the causes of elephant-related problems, and ways to mitigate elephant-related problems.

Investigations were carried out in areas where elephant-related problems hap­pened, from July 2009 to March 2011, with the assistance of the reserve staff who had been working in local communities for several years and well understood the situation of the studied communities. We received 423 questionnaires from 22 vil­lages, of which 412 (97.40 %) were valid. The generality of interviewees were

(1) age: from 18 to 80 years old with an average age of 39; (2) gender: 350 men and 62 women; (3) eight ethnic groups: 118 were Jino, 84 Hani, 74 Yi, 51 Dai, 50 Blang, 21 Han, 13 Yao, and 1 Lahu; and (4) school education level: 2 graduated from colleges, 15 from senior high schools, 175 from junior high schools, 212 from elementary schools, and 8 were illiterate.