Determinants of Human Wildlife Conflict Management in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya.
Mwadime, Hedlam Mwakio
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Managing and mitigating HWC around Protected Areas has become a challenge to conservation stakeholders, with most HWC management strategies focusing on symptoms and not the contributing factors. There are several studies on HWC, but no study has focused on the determinants of its management. This study, therefore, purposed to elucidate on the enablers of effective HWC management, with the objectives focusing on private stakeholders, public participation, compensation, and resource competition. The study was anchored on stakeholders’ theory, which underscores the importance of identifying those holding stakes and their nature in decision making. The study was descriptive and was done in Taita Taveta County. A population of 15889 households within Mwatate Sub-County was targeted, with a Sample size of 375 being established using Krejcie and Morgan, (1970). Simple Random Sampling technique was used to determine the Sample. Data was collected by use of questionnaires featuring a combination of structured and unstructured questions. Data was analyzed using SPSS where Regression analysis and Chi square tests were conducted on the variables. A response rate of 69.33% was achieved with 260 respondents participating in the study out of the targeted 375. There were several variables that were used to show the effect that resource competition has on Human Wildlife Management. This variable had several proxies among them: grazing in the park its authorization. Findings reveal that as long as other factors are held constant, per unit increase in the number of people who graze inside the park, the log odds of participating in Human Wildlife Management increases by 1.226. This means that the more grazing inside the park is allowed, the more likely Human Wildlife Management will be promoted. Further, the influence of public participation on Human Wildlife Management had several proxies including knowledge of ongoing HWC management strategies. Regression analysis established that, as long as all other factors are held constant, per unit increase in the number of people who have knowledge of the ongoing management strategies, the log odds of Human Wildlife Management increase by 1.755. Knowledge of the ongoing management strategies therefore increases the chances of Human Wildlife Management. Chi square tests revealed no association between all compensation proxies and HWC management. Private stakeholders as a variable had several proxies which included public attitude on steps taken by private stakeholders on HWC Management and knowledge of the private stakeholders. Results revealed that, if other factors are held constant, if the residents change their attitude from positive to negative, then the log odds of Human Wildlife Management decreases by 1.184. This therefore indicates that to improve Human Wildlife Management then there must be a positive public attitude by the local community to the steps taken by private stake holders to mitigate wildlife conflicts. The study recommended, participatory approaches, public sensitization, corporate social responsibilities, enforcement of laws and policies, for co-existence between humans and wildlife.