Factors influencing human wildlife conflict in communities around the park: a case of lake Nakuru national park
Human-wildlife conflict, is a growing problem in today‘s crowded world, and can have significant impacts on both human and wildlife populations. Human-wildlife conflict occurs when there is close interaction between wild animals and human beings, resulting to injuries, death, predation, transmission of diseases and even human threats. Human beings in turn tend to retaliate back and even killing or injuring the same animals due to lack of compensation and proper framework to mitigate the conflict. This so-called ‗human-wildlife conflict‘ (HWC) needs to be addressed to ensure that local people do not unfairly bear the negative side-effects of conservation, becoming more opposed to it and further jeopardizing the survival of high conservation value (HCV) species. The purpose of the study was to assess the factors influencing human wildlife conflict in communities living around Lake Nakuru National Park. In order to accomplish this study, the study objectives were: To examine competition over resources as a factor influencing human wildlife conflict, To establish human encroachment to protected areas as a factor influencing human-wildlife conflict, To assess the response strategies by Kenya wildlife Service in mitigating human wildlife conflict and To determine the relationship between human population increase and human wildlife conflict. The study provided the results in terms of qualitative and descriptive research design. The research questions were based on the four objectives stated above. Literature review in this study was drawn from several related studies and it particularly touches on the objectives of the study it ends with the conceptual framework describing how independent variable influence the dependent variables (Human-wildlife conflict), moderating variable being government policies for instance compensation policies though this policies try to intervene by trying to solve the problem they need to be reviewed so as not to bring more problems as it is now in Kenya where; crop destruction, predation on domesticated animals by wildlife and property damaged are not compensated thus causing more conflict. The target population of the study was 925(nine hundred and twenty five) households from urban villages closer to the park who are mostly affected by the human animal conflict. The study used a manageable sample size of 270 respondents out of which 254 out of the total 270 questionnaires were filled and returned. Data was collected by use of questionnaires and was analyzed with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS) descriptive statistics (Frequencies, percentages) were computed. The findings were presented in form of tables. The study successfully addressed the set research objectives. The findings revealed that human population contributes a lot in competition of resources between human beings and wildlife and that migration of people for security reasons has also led to the increase in the said conflict, the study also shows that people are satisfied with the strategies put in place by KWS thus the Kenya wildlife service has done enough to counter the cases of human- wildlife conflict reported by people but with the manifestation of human wildlife conflict still existing then reviewing of Kenya wildlife strategies to mitigate HWC is recommended. This study finding may provide essential information to KWS in understanding the contributing factors to wildlife-human conflict and also the government and concerned stakeholders as a process of environmental conservation, Tourism and food security as engraved in vision 2030.