Assessment of Factors Moderating Community Attitudes Towards Wildlife Tourism and Conservation: A Case of Ikona and Makao Wildlife Management Areas
The purpose of this study was to assess community attitudes towards the impacts of wildlife tourism and conservation interventions in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) to community livelihoods. The study used Ikona and Makao Wildlife Management Areas as a case study. A cross-sectional study was conducted from October to November 2018 using a semi-structured questionnaire. A total of 559 randomly sampled respondents were interviewed. Data were analysed using SPSS General Linear Model-Univariate. The findings revealed that Social Economic Status (SES) of the respondents significantly influenced respondents’ attitudes while gender and origin of the respondents marginally influenced their attitudes. Majority of the respondents accept WMA in their villages though are not satisfied with the benefits accrued from WMA. Most of the respondents mentioned crops damage and livestock depredation as major factors undermining their attitudes towards WMAs. The study provides empirical evidence that without local communities realizing direct and tangible benefits, it will be difficult to associate conservation and livelihood improvement, a condition that undermines wildlife conservation. The study recommends WMAs authorities to find sustainable solutions to crops damage and livestock depredation problem. The study also recommends introduction of wildlife conservation to schools to create and increase awareness among youths from childhood stage.
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