Effectiveness of the management strategies of human-wildlife conflicts in Kitengela dispersal area, Kajiado County Kenya.
Makini, James Ayusa
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Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) is a worldwide problem that causes suffering both to people and wildlife. The study focused on conflict caused by carnivores in Kitengela area. The population of carnivores is declining globally probably due to conflict with human beings. These animals face a risk of disappearing from the face of the earth unless proper management strategies are put into place to reverse the trend. The objectives of the study was to assess the effectiveness of various management strategies of the human-wildlife conflict at Kitengela dispersal area, examine the effects of changes in land use practices on human-wildlife conflict management at Kitengela dispersal area, establish the effects of stakeholders' involvement on human wildlife conflict management at Kitengela dispersal area and assess local community's perceptions of wildlife on human-wildlife conflict management at Kitengela dispersal area. Some of the strategies that have been used to manage this conflict include; use of livestock guarding dogs, fencing of conservation areas/protected areas, use of chain-link fences around homesteads, education and awareness creation, livestock compensation schemes, improving livestock husbandry and relocation of problem animals among other methods. Data was collected through questionnaires, key informant interviews and direct observations. A sample of 105 respondents from Kitengela consisting of Maasai pastoralists was selected through snow ball sampling. Another sample of two key informants from Nairobi National Park was purposively sampled and interviewed. One more key informant was selected from The Wildlife Fund. The data obtained was quantitatively analyzed by way of percentages and multiple regression analysis. Qualitative analysis was achieved by summarizing the information gathered, followed by categorization and coding into emerging themes and presented in a narrative form. Results were presented in form of tables, pie charts and bar graphs. The study found out that dogs (100 % of respondents) and a combination of a variety of fences were used to manage the conflict. Use of other strategies such as compensation, awareness creation and use of incentive were not common in the study area. Majority (58.09%) of the respondents preferred fencing Nairobi National Park as a strategy to manage the conflict. There were extensive changes in land use patterns, such as crop production (59.19 % of respondents) and stone mining (34.29% of respondents) which probably led to increased conflict. Most respondents (79%) were not involved in wildlife conservation and hence they (91.4% of respondents) had negative attitudes towards wildlife. Regression analysis established a significant relationship between human wildlife conflict management and the independent variables; effectiveness of various management strategies (p=0.00<0.05), compatibility of land use practices (p=0.036<0.05), stakeholders involvement in managing human-wildlife conflict (p= 0.20<0.05) and local community's perceptions (p=0.001 <0.05). It was recommended that chain-link fences should be made cheaper for local people and encourage them to engage in land use practices that are compatible with wildlife conservation. Participatory wildlife management and conservation should be encouraged and local people's attitudes and perceptions towards wildlife improved.