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Human–wildlife conflict and attitude of local people towards conservation of wildlife in Chebera Churchura National Park, Ethiopia

Aberham Megaze, Mundanthra Balakrishnan, Gurja Belay

Abstract


Human–wildlife conflict is a serious challenge undermining the integrity of protected areas in developing countries. Developing effective human–wildlife conflict mitigation strategies requires an understanding of the conflict patterns, species involved and attitudes of local people living along protected area boundaries. We hypothesised that (1) there was a high level of human–wildlife conflict and (2) the local people would have less favourable attitudes towards problematic wild animals. We assessed patterns of human–wildlife conflict and attitudes of local people along the boundary of Chebera Churchura National Park, Ethiopia from 2012 to 2014. A total of 354 households were selected randomly for interview. A questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and direct field observations were carried out in the selected villages. The major types of human−wildlife conflict in the area include crop raiding, livestock predation, increased risk of livestock diseases and direct threats to human life. A majority of the respondents (68.1%) faced crop damage and domestic animal loss, 12.3% reported threat to humans and 0.3% reported that the wildlife might cause diseases. Close proximity of the villages to the park and seasons influenced livestock predation intensity with highest predation in the wet season (56.0%). To mitigate these problems, the local people utilised various traditional methods, including guarding. Most respondents had positive attitudes towards the conservation of wildlife. However, as the frequency of conflicts increased in the last five years, the attitudes of local people might change. Active measures are to be implemented to mitigate the problem and safeguard the future of the wildlife around the park. The park has enormous potential to benefit more local people by implementing a participatory management approach to conservation.

Keywords: depredation, East Africa, mitigation measures, wildlife conflict




http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15627020.2016.1254063
AJOL African Journals Online