An assessment of Human-wildlife conflict : A case of Ol Donyo Sabuk National park, Machakos county.
The purpose of this research was to provide a better understanding of the causes of human-wildlife conflict and propose aiding development of a program for integrating wildlife conservation with human development needs at Oldonyo Sabuk National Park. The study was carried out under the following objectives; to establish if human population increase adjacent to the park influence human wildlife conflict, to establish if land use pattern adjacent to the park influences human wildlife conflict, to establish which wildlife species mainly cause human conflict, to establish the current mitigation measures in resolving human wildlife conflict by assessing policy for wildlife conservation. This study adopted the descriptive survey design while revealing variables contributing negatively or positively towards human wildlife conflict. In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the target population comprised the households living adjacent the park, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), local authorities, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as well as other stakeholders such as Delmonte and Muka Mukuu Cooperative Society within the area. Simple random sampling procedures were employed during the data collection exercise. Various techniques were used for the analyses and presentation of data, these include both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The study established that crop damages, human threat, property destruction were some of the mostly reported damages. Majority of the respondents indicated that the trend of Human Wildlife Conflict in general over the years was increasing. The study concluded that Kenya Wildlife Service has helped maintain the Park habitat or has increased programs to reduce degradation greatly. The study also concluded that some of the challenges faced while undertaking conservation measures were; communities lacked necessary skills and training in conservation practices, the negative perception and attitude by the locals on wildlife policies and conservation management. The study recommended that communities must participate in park management planning and consulted in policy formulation. Relevant sectors such as the agricultural, livestock, tourism and lands must work together to ensure the communities realize their crop yields, and livestock production while coexisting with wildlife. Ecotourism programs must be boosted to improve the locals’ livelihoods as it will create a sense of Park ownership and sustainable wise use conservation practices.