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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 283-292

Complex Ways in Which Landscape Conditions and Risks Affect Human Attitudes Towards Wildlife


1 Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) Laboratory, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA; Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya
2 Wildlife Works, Voi, Kenya
3 James Madison College; Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA
4 Wildlife Works, Voi; Department of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
5 Applied Forest and Wildlife Ecology Laboratory (AFWEL), Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA
6 Conservation Science Research Group, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia; Centre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa
7 Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Correspondence Address:
Arthur B Muneza
Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) Laboratory, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, Michigan; Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Nairobi

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_112_21

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Negative interactions between humans and wildlife (i.e. those presenting risks to human security or private property) can trigger retaliation and potential human-wildlife conflict (HWC). The nature and strength of these human responses may depend on previous interactions with wildlife and can be shaped by landscape conditions. However, the ways in which previous experiences and landscape conditions interact to shape peoples' attitudes towards wildlife are not well-understood. We conducted our study in Tsavo Conservation Area, Kenya, which experiences some of the highest rates of HWC documented in East Africa. We explored how previous experiences with wildlife and landscape conditions interact to inform the attitudes of people towards wildlife. We conducted semi-structured surveys among 331 households and fit an ordinal mixed-effects regression model to predict human attitudes to wildlife as a function of landscape conditions and previous interactions. Respondents indicated that baboons, elephants, and lions posed the greatest risks to human security and private property. Households experiencing risks from wildlife wanted wildlife populations to decrease, whereas households depending on grazing lands outside the study area wished to see wildlife increase. Our study demonstrates that human-wildlife interactions have important social and spatial contexts, and are not uniform across households in the same area owing to location of private property. Correspondingly, for interventions to be effective, we recommend considerations of local contexts and landscape conditions of communities.


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