A study of the location and intensity of snaring for bush meat - Case study of Ruma National Park
Righa, Joseph M
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The utilization of bush meat has been part of human diets as far back as the Stone Age or hunter/gatherers period. Over t he years bush meat has moved from being a traditional diet! protein supplement to more of a commercial product obtained using sophisticated and unsustainable hunting weapons and techniques such as wire snaring. Snaring involves the use of nooses made from wires obtained from discarded tyres, telephone line wires, and towrope cables, fence wires or from wires purchased from shops to trap wildlife. In Kenya wildlife snaring occurs in both protected and unprotected areas such as Nairobi National Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tsavo National Park, Ruma National Park, Mt. Kenya National Park, K edong ranch and D elamere Farm inN aivasha, Lake Nakuru National Park, Kasigau and Sagala Ranches in Taita Taveta and communal lands and wildlife dispersal areas such as Kitengela, Machakos and Mau Narok among other areas. Snaring targets various species from birds and small mammals such as duiker and dik dik to the larger animals such as deer, gazelles, hippos, buffalos and elephants. This study investigated the extent of snaring for bush meat in Kenya using Ruma National Park as a case study. The objectives of the study were to determine wildlife snaring intensities in the different regions of the park, to identify the snaring hotspots and establish factors that influence their location and to assess the relationship between snaring activities and the availability of target species. Hypotheses used to guide the study included no difference between the snaring densities in the different geographical areas of the park, no significant relationship between snaring activities and the presence or absence of target species, and snaring location not influenced by habitat types Data were collected on snare numbers, animal numbers and habitat type and were sourced in the field, from KWS data stores and from Youth for Conservation Ruma National Park desnaring reports 2003 and 2004. The data collected were subjected to various statistical analysis both descriptive and inferential as well as to spatial analysis method. The results of the data analysis indicated that snaring in different areas of the park was influenced by various factors, prominent of which were revealed to be animal numbers and vegetation cover types. The study provides recommendations on policy and management and on areas for further research. Key recommendations are intensified desnaring and security patrols; setting up security camps on snaring hotspots; constant monitoring of animal movements; and initiating socio economic activities compatible with wildlife conservation.