Factors influencing wildlife conservational attitudes of local communities along the Tsavo East National Park Voi, Kenya
Tayo, Stella W.
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conservation IS hailed as the way to go for the implementation of any development project. Indeed without conservation of environment the world cannot achieve sustainable development as indicated in Agenda 21. The traditional African conservation approaches were meant to promote harmonious coexistence between the wildlife and humans and reduce conflicts. The colonial era introduced segregation of wild life for conservation purposes which also saw the sharp decline in community participation in conservation initiatives. National park and reserves were established to conserve the wildlife. However, national park conservation strategies are restrictive and the communities neighbouring the park have no access to resources in the park. As a result community participation in park affairs is limited. This in turns leads to primitive capital accumulation and resource capture where the community feel that the park resource is a community resource which they have been deprived off, and that only the elites and foreigners benefit from the park establishment. The Purpose of this study was to determine the Factors influencing wildlife conservational attitudes of local communities along the Tsavo East National Park Voi, Kenya. The specific objectives included the following: To determine whether of community. participation in wildlife management has influenced their attitude towards wildlife conservation, to examine whether K WS revenue sharing program is affecting community conservation attitudes and to establ ish whether competition of resources and resource capture is affecting community conservation attitudes. The study aimed at providing answers and literature on the gaps left in establishing successful community support for the conservation initiatives. In the literature review Revenue and benefit sharing plans are outlined in KWS Policies but the implementation is not clear and also community involvement plans and strategies exist but the implementation is also not clear in Tsavo East. The study adopted a descriptive survey design since the researcher was dealing with people whose status, perception and practice could only be described upon interviewing and questionnaire analysis. The study targeted the communities neighboring Tsavo East National Park Voi. The study sample of the case study was Voi Township. Several research instruments were used to collect data. They included: Interview schedule and questionnaires. Data was collected, edited, coded and analysed using the SPSS computer application and presented using frequency distribution tables and percentiles. Research findings indicate that the most members' community had not participated in the park affairs. The KWS and park management rarely conduct mobilization barazas. The KWS and park management have established advocacy groups and committees that help to create awareness among the communities neighbouring the park. The community, wildlife and livestock compete for the resources available in the fringes and margins of the park. Wildlife destroys crops and livestock in search of water and forage. The revenue sharing program is not well defined in Tsavo East. The K WS and park Management disguised it in corporate social responsibility. Most of the community members were not aware of the revenue sharing program and instead enumerated the community projects undertaken by the park management. The K WS and park management should conduct more community barazas to educate the community on the importance of environment conservation. The revenue sharing program should be revamped to create a commitment by the park to continue sharing the park benefits with the community. More efforts should be put to encourage employment of the local communities in the park, and also reduce human-wildlife conflicts.