Impact of human wildlife conflict on socio-economy of support zone communities of Cross River National Park, Nigeria
Rural livelihood must be secured if biodiversity will survive. This makes it important to investigate the conflicts between rural communities in Cross River National Park (CRNP) who mostly dependent on natural resources of their immediate environment. A set of structured questionnaire was designed to gather information from support zone communities (SZC) of the park. From sampling frame of 20 and 25 listed SZCs in both Oban and Okwango Park divisions out of which four and five communities were randomly selected respectively using a sampling intensity of 20% from each list. In each of the 9 SZCs selected, 20 households were systematically selected. Data collected was augmented with Focused Group Discussions with SZC members in each selected community. All the community members surveyed engage in farming with 42.2% having alternative sources of livelihood. Most of the respondents experience the conflict between 1-10 times per year, while loss of crop ranked highest among the effects of HWC on the communities. Most of the victims attack and kill the animals as a management method in both communities. The custodians of biodiversity, prior to its protection, were the sole beneficiary of the resource. Their lives and livelihood should be secured after its protection to ensure availability of the resource in perpetuity. This calls for attention of policy makers and intervention of local, regional and international stakeholders concerned with wildlife management to ensure that sustainable development in the sub-sector is not impaired.
Keywords: Human wildlife conflict, rural livelihood, biodiversity protection, conflict management, Cross River National Park