Impact of bush meat poaching of wildlife and its conservation in Tsavo East national park- Kenya
MetadataShow full item record
This study was conducted in Tsavo East National Park, Northern Area from December 2006 to June 2007. It was delimited to the Northern Area covering Kasaala and Kimweli sub-locations in Ikutha division of Kitui district. The main objectives of this research were: to evaluate the extent of bush meat poaching and its impacts; to review the existing policies and legal framework, and its effectiveness pertaining to bush meat poaching; to examine the social-economic factors influencing bush meat poaching and to prepare a log frame for sustainable development of Tsavo East National Park ecosystem. To collect the data, both primary and secondary data sources were acquired. Primary data was gathered using questionnaires, interview schedules, focused group discussions and observation. Secondary data was gathered through literature review from both published and unpublished materials, internet, maps and records from Kenya Wildlife Service and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust database. Simple random sampling technique was used to acquire a representative sample, purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were employed to get information from resource persons. Data collected was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) to generate frequencies and descriptive statistics. The illegal killing of wildlife for meat is believed to be one of the greatest direct causes of wildlife decline in East and South African regions. In Kenya, wildlife resource is an important foreign currency earner through tourism and its significance contribution to National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been largely responsible for influencing wildlife policy to focus almost exclusively on non-consumptive wildlife utilization systems. In the study area, there has been substantial increase in human population which has led to habitat loss through increasing sub-division of land for agriculture, and soil degradation caused by the continued promotion of unsuitable land use in a semi-arid and infertile district. This has contributed to bush meat poaching as most households struggle to eke out a living amidst endemic poverty and frequent famine. Poaching with snares in Tsavo East National Park - Northern Area is rife as witnessed by enormous number of snares lifted over the past few years. Over 17,000 wire snares, for example, were recovered between the year 2002 and 2004. According to the field study, cheapness of bush meat which accounted to 70% is by far the most cited reason for use in comparison to domestic meat which sells at Ksh. 120 per kilogramme. One kilogramme of bush meat sells at approximately Ksh. 40. For any meaningful fight against bush meat poaching, therefore, it is recommended that the community be involved in conservation and benefits from the park be felt. Poverty is the main driver to poaching with 54% of the households earning less than I dollar (Ksh. 70) per day. Efforts should be sort to improve the living standards of the community through alternative sources of livelihood. The study concludes that, it is through good government policies that focus on poverty alleviation for sustainable development that bush meat poaching can be alleviated. The policy and legal framework that govern wildlife management is not effective in curbing bush meat poaching. Penalties and sentences for apprehended poachers are cheap and affordable and in most cases poachers are pardoned not to repeat the offence. The Wildlife policy which is currently under review should ensure that the community appreciates wildlife conservation which is only possible if the community is involved in conservation and benefit sharing.