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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 408-428

Interactions between Humans and Wildlife: Landowner Experiences Regarding Wildlife Damage, Ownership and Benefits in Laikipia District, Kenya

Interdisciplinary Studies, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

Correspondence Address:
Oscar Wambuguh
Department of Health Sciences (Environmental Health), California State University (East Bay), 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, CA 94541
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Substantial biological diversity exists in areas outside protected areas and its survival depends on the goodwill extended by private landown­ers. To ensure that those landowners contribute to biodiversity conservation efforts in mutually beneficial partnerships, it is important to understand their socio-economic backgrounds and historical heritage, land use patterns and expectations, and biodiversity education needs as a basis of formulating in­clusive conservation policies. The goal of this study was to explore some of the issues arising from interactions between local landowners and wildlife in a prominent wildlife area in Kenya. Interviews were conducted with 377 pri­vate landowners in Laikipia District of north-central Kenya falling in three categories: small-scale, pastoralist and large-scale. Landowners differed in many respects regarding wildlife benefits, wildlife damage and mitigation, benefits, ownership and possible solutions primarily based on their economic backgrounds, land-parcel size and land use, traditional history and knowl­edge about biodiversity. In all ownerships, the elephant (Loxodonta africana)was the most dominant animal in terms of size and its potential to cause in­jury or death and damage to property. The most favoured methods of deter­ring wildlife were traditional (in small-scale and pastoralist ownerships)including bonfires, iron-sheet beating and sound whips; while in many large ownerships modern methods were favoured, primarily the use of firearms to shoot in the air. Many landowners stated that benefiting from wildlife utilisa­tion directly, was very important to them. Suggested long-term solutions emphasised direct wildlife benefits, compensation for property damages, problem animal control, investment in development projects and biodiversity education.

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