Human wildlife management is an attempt by humans to improve the relationship between humans and wildlife. However there have been challenges in the forms of management techniques used and as such conflicts have arisen time and again. Humans are still dealing with poachers and wildlife traffickers while animals still pose threats to human life. How can the situation change.
Human Wild life Management Conflict
It refers to disagreement between people and wildlife in use of resources, encroachment of wildlife areas, deaths of both wildlife and humans caused by one or the other. Consequently there are many instances in which human activity has encroached into wildlife and wild game welfare while at the same time wildlife has encroached into human territory.
In Tsavo West National Park and its environs, there are many incidences in which wild animals have intruded farm lands and caused wanton destruction to property, wildlife have even gone to extents of killing the farmers as they tried to protect their property. Conversely the intrusion of private property by wildlife has also lead to loss of wildlife.
The most prevalent of such cases has been witnessed around Meru Central Parks in Eastern Kenya as well as the Samburu Game Reserve. Human wildlife conflict is a new management crisis facing wildlife managers and conservationists. It should therefore be given priority for action, hence there is a need for a standard format to monitor conflict.
Factors Causing Human Wild life Management Conflict
Size of National Parks in Kenya
From colonial times to 1980s there was a progressive creation and gazetting of national parks which lead to the displacement of many human populations in Kenya
Some of the parks created were extremely small and at times were considered to be unstable ecological islands which could not survive independently.
Typical examples include Nairobi national park which has a surface area of 114sq.km, Aberdares 384sq.km and Amboseli which occupies 380sq.km
However Tsavo National park with an area of 20,567km, has reasonable space for free movement of wildlife to mitigate inbreeding and potential extinction of species. On the contrary, large wildlife conservatories are potential targets for poachers.
Large parks are also faced with virtual lack of tourism infrastructure thus making access and control extremely very difficult
Poaching Of Africa Elephants and its effect in Wildlife Management
This normally affects expansive and forested animal parks like Mt.Kenya, Meru, Marsabit and others. A good example is Maasai mara which has lost 58% of wildlife in a span of 20 years. Poaching activities are still a menace as some attacks go beyond game wildlife to park rangers in Kenya.
Poaching is also a way of acquiring meat for both urban and rural dwellers either knowingly or unknowingly. Nonetheless, in a country where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line poaching continues to be a challenge
In order to conserve wildlife all stake holders must be included in decision making. Local people around the game parks should be empowered to take an active role in management of parks.
It is necessary for people to desist from poaching and instead adopt sustainable development in tourism.
Population Increase and its Effect in Wild life Management
The high population has resulted to encroachment of areas formally used by wildlife thus increasing the chances of encounters with wild animals. The world has been experiencing a significant population increase and Kenya no exception
This raises critical issues on food and shelter. Areas that were initially set aside for wild life conservation have come to limelight as they have human populations in their proximity. This include victims internally displaced persons(I.D.P’s) languishing in poverty
The perception of wildlife to the local people has been negative and this volatile situation has been in the form of poaching and loss of human life due to unexpected encounters.
Compensation for loss of life is considerably low and this combined with the fact that residents may not have any insurance cover to help them. It is therefore worth noting that empowerment of local people by increasing entitlement in running of the parks is extremely important.
Respect for human and democratic rights of communities living next to the parks could also alleviate the situation by making them custodians of heritage.
Destruction of Wildlife Ecosystems
85% of indigenous of forests have been destroyed since Kenya’s independence. Humans have encroached into the forests which are the country’s water towers such as the Aberdare ranges and the Mau complex. This means the amount of water that feeds rivers in the game parks has decreased while the human population continues to interfere with wildlife migratory corridors such as the case of Kajiado and Kitengela areas.
In the same token industrialization in the urban areas has contributed to the pollution of water resources like Lake Nakuru, Naivasha and Mbagathi river. These anthropogenic effects have led to further conflict between man and wild animals. Its high time we stopped reacting and take action by encouraging Eco-tourism and sustainable tourism.
As an individual you can curb this by planting a tree. Tourism has been picking up but we have to bring to an end the destruction of our ecosystem and re-read our radars. Should this continue we are likely to see empty hotels, deserted airports and closed restaurants, our fragile economy would be forced to carry the burden of a wildlife population lost and never to return.
This calls for environment conservation and creation of awareness and getting everybody involved in this noble task is the basis of resource conservation.
Crop farming and its Effects in Wild Life Management
The introduction of crop farming has attracted elephants to some farm places. Elephants prefer maize and banana,while variation in tree planting dates in areas surrounding the park attracts elephants all year around. Haphazard planting of crops makes the problem of elephants control very difficult. This is because ripening of crops happens at different times of the year.
Mitigation of Human Wildlife Conflict
Many different approaches have been used to mitigate conflict between humans and wildlife at different levels. The increasing levels of conflicts has forced the government to come up with policies of conflict mitigation for instance:
Elephant Trans location: This involves moving problematic elephants from conflict zones though an expensive undertaking and at times futile operation it has its success. Excess wildlife animal population can also be sold to willing countries like Thailand and the proceeds used in conservation efforts.
Fencing : Restriction of animals has also increased control of these conflicts. Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary was established with the objective of ensuring that elephants in Shimba hills are free from attacks by local residents. This has also created job opportunities for the local people.
The challenge posed by these realities is the degree to which human populations will be able to sustainably exploit environmental resources without jeopardizing the access and control of the same by future generations.
Tourism tends to find itself dealing with delicate issues that point to scarce resources. Humanity which exists as part of nature has no future unless nature and natural resources are conserved for the benefit of the present as well as future generations. Hence wild life management and protection of natural environment is a matter of concern to everybody.