Factors Influencing Human Wildlife Conflict In Communities Surrounding Protected Areas
Human-wildlife conflicts poses a great challenge to wildlife conservation and the sources of income of people globally and is increasing as human migration settlement from rural to urban areas increases, development expands, global climate changes and other human and environmental factors put people and wildlife in greater direct competition for a shrinking resource base. The purpose of this study was to find out the factors influencing human wildlife conflict in communities surrounding protected areas; a case of Kenya Wildlife Service. Objectives of the study were to determine the influence of; resources competition, human migration settlement, human invasion to protected areas as well assessing how Kenya Wildlife Service conservation measures influence human wildlife conflict in communities living around Maasai Mara National Reserve. The study was influenced by the fact that human wildlife conflict cases are still rampant in Maasai Mara National Reserve despite measures taken up by Kenya Wildlife Service to reduce human wildlife conflict. The study might be significant to interested stake holders in developing programs that will ensure sustainability of the wildlife and human, assist Kenya Wildlife Service in reviewing and amending appropriately existing policies governing natural resources and land issues and local community and future researchers interested in related topics. The study was based on Social Conflict and stakeholder Theories. The study used a descriptive survey research design where the target population comprised of 1200 households from five villages surrounding Maasai Mara National Reserve and all the 30 Kenya Wildlife Service officers at Maasai Mara National Reserve station. Stratified sampling was adopted to select 118 households. Questionnaires and interview guides were used to collect data. A pilot test was carried out to test instrument validity, the researcher used the split-half technique. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentages frequency and mean while data was presented using tables. Respondents were assured of confidentiality of the information provided and privacy of the source of data as the questionnaire did not call for disclosure of identity. From the study it was established that; sharing of resources with wildlife had significant effect p=0.007 on Human Wildlife Conflict, human migration settlement had significant effect p=0.002 on Human Wildlife Conflict, human invasion to protected areas had significant effect p=0.003 on Human Wildlife Conflict and Kenya Wildlife Service conservation measures had significant effect p=0.003 on Human Wildlife Conflict. From the study, it was concluded that when there is drought the pastoralists graze their livestock in the protected areas and some residents also block water for domestic and agricultural use, people migration due to various reasons have led to an increase in human population, that invasion to protected area for agricultural and economic activities are also on the rise and Kenya Wildlife Service has come up with measures to curb human wildlife conflict. This study recommends that: the government of Kenya should establish coherent policies that will protect the environment and sustainable use of natural resource, government should resettle squatters and post- election violence evictees away from the protected area, Kenya Wildlife Service should review its policy through enforcement of regulations and legislation on the safe distance on which people should build their houses away from protected areas and community education and awareness by Kenya Wildlife Service should be implemented in the areas where Human Wildlife Conflict is experienced.
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