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McGill University (1995)

Wildlife-human conflict in Kenya : integrating wildlife conservation with human needs in the Masai Mara region

Omondi, Paul

Titre : Wildlife-human conflict in Kenya : integrating wildlife conservation with human needs in the Masai Mara Region

Auteur : Omondi, Paul

Université de soutenance : McGill University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy 1994

Masai Mara, a large nature reserve in south-western Kenya, was created in the midst of semi-arid agropastoralist rangelands to protect wildlife. Wildlife and indigenous people co-existed for many years, usually with limited conflict ; but in recent years, the conflict has intensified, mainly due to increasing human population, changing land use patterns, and altered perceptions of wildlife. This study examines the causes and nature of wildlife-human conflict in the Masai rangelands of Kenya, and considers how wildlife conservation and human development needs can best be integrated. Findings indicate that common conflicts are livestock depredation and crop damage, human deaths or injuries, transmission of diseases, and competition for resources. Land surrounding the reserve can be divided into two distinct topographic and agroclimatic regions. The degree of conflict is spatially varied within the region. Upland ranches have high land use potential, high human and livestock population densities, and more development of agriculture. They experience limited conflict with wildlife. Lowland ranches are more arid, have lower human population density and little agriculture, but have high wildlife and livestock population densities and experience a high degree of conflict. These conflicts vary seasonally, and with distance from the protected area. Perceptions of wildlife and attitudes towards conservation are related to past experience with wildlife. The degree of loss, effectiveness of damage control, fairness of government compensation, and involvement in wildlife tourism affect the degree of tolerance for wildlife conflict. Various socio-economic factors including level of education, knowledge of conservation priorities, and system of land ownership are related to attitudes towards wildlife. As human activity increases in the region, wildlife is more likely to be displaced. Because most animals are migratory, conflict in the land surrounding the reserve puts the viability of animal population in the protected area in question. A two-phase program for integrating wildlife conservation with human needs is proposed. The first phase involves designation of the region into four zones : Zone A—the protected area, Zone B—the peripheral area, Zone C—multiple use, and Zone D—agriculture. The second phase of the program is the integration of the wildlife conservation with human interests through : community wildlife-damage-control, compensation for loss, sharing of tourism benefits with local people, conservation education, and local participation in wildlife conservation policy. The program provides a framework within which operational decisions can be made, and serves broader natural resource management and community development objectives in the rangelands.

Mots Clés : Human-animal relationships — Kenya — Masai Mara National Reserve ; Wildlife conservation — Kenya — Masai (African people) — Social conditions — Economic conditions — Human ecology — Kenya — Masai Mara National Reserve


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