Wildlife conservation, visitors’ preferences and habitat conditions for wildlife tourism at Oljogi Conservancy in Laikipia County, Kenya
Nzomo, Cosmas Munyao
Maingi, Shem Wambugu
Kariuki, Albert Chege
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The enormous potentials of wildlife tourism in recreation, community and economic development can be maximized through focusing on visitors’ preference in ensuring sustainability of this increasingly important sector. Wildlife tourism has an important economic value through revenue that can be used to support conservation. This study examined wildlife conservation, visitor preference and habit conditions for wildlife tourism at Oljogi Conservancy in Laikipia County, Kenya. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. A structured questionnaire was used to elicit information from visitors touring the Wildlife rescue centre in Oljogi conservancy in addition to an interview guide which was used to collect data from the tour guides. Data were analyzed through content analysis. Results revealed that seeing wildlife in its natural environment, behaving naturally and viewing rare, unique or unusual wildlife were the three most important features sought in a wildlife tourism experience. For most of the visitors we recruited in this study, it was their first time to see the wild animal. It also revealed that most of the tourists touched, handled or fed the wild animal which were friendly in nature, in addition to being rare and unique. The study also found out that the most preferred animal was the black rhino, followed by the leopard and the lion as the top three. It was also found that the conservation status at the Oljogi was good. This study concludes that visitor’s profile for wildlife preference as well as habitat condition had significant influence on wildlife tourism at Oljogi conservancy. In addition, most of the visitors paying a stopover at Wildlife rescue centre in Oljogi conservancy were highly satisfied with the wildlife experience. The study recommends relevant programs that would ensure protection of the endangered species, increased number of preferred animals and high level of satisfaction among visitors. A similar study is recommended in national reserves and parks to compare and contrast the results.
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