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University of Michigan (2012)

Human-Wildlife Conflict, Interspecies Disease, and Justice in a Wild-Life Rich Region in Kenya

Benka, Valerie

Titre : Human-Wildlife Conflict, Interspecies Disease, and Justice in a Wild-Life Rich Region in Kenya.

Auteur : Benka, Valerie

Université de soutenance : University of Michigan

Grade : Master of Science 2012

Résumé
Central Kenya’s Laikipia district is known for its significant wildlife numbers and biological diversity. This is the result of the commitment of community residents to protect wildlife populations, including those on private land. Despite successes, tensions between humans and wildlife remain. Most research to date has focused on conflict between pastoralist herders, particularly Maasai, and two wildlife species : elephants and lions. It has also focused on conflict resulting from depredation, property damage, and human injury. This study explores another potential contributor to negative attitudes toward wildlife : interspecies disease, and particularly the perception that wildlife can transfer disease to pastoralists’ domestic animals. Formal interviews were conducted with 64 Maasai pastoralists. Questions focused on experiences with disease in domestic animals, perceptions of wildlife contributions to domestic animal disease, and broader attitudes toward wildlife, and these issues are considered against the social, cultural, and historical background of the region. Interviews supported the commonly held belief that livestock disease places severe burdens on East African pastoralists. Different diseases were associated to varying degrees with wildlife ; elephants, Cape buffalo, and zebra were most often cited as causing disease in domestic animals. Epidemiological studies confirm several associations that pastoralists made between wildlife and disease in domestic animals, and instances where assumptions and perceptions were not epidemiologically correct were still logically coherent. Persons who took part in this study did not list wildlife disease, or disease threats, as their greatest problem with wild species. However, responses also suggest that it would be a mistake to underestimate the impact that concerns about disease have on pastoralists’ attitudes toward wildlife.

Mots clés : wildlife ; human wildlife conflict ; pastoralism ; interspecies disease

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Page publiée le 24 juin 2013, mise à jour le 12 juillet 2018