Wildlife Conservation and People’s Livelihoods: Lessons Learnt and Considerations for Improvements. The Case of Serengeti Ecosystem, Tanzania
MetadataShow full item record
- Institutt for biologi 
Protected areas have long been recognized as the single most important method of conserving wildlife and preserving biodiversity. However, the protectionism model of management of protected areas has often displaced people from their lands. The main approach to recent wildlife management has been to include local people in planning and management, and the sharing of benefits from conservation. In conservation, participation can take several forms such as manipulative, passive or self-mobilization. Participation as a core paradigm of Community Based Conservation (CBC) always open door for people to regain control over resource management and strengthening their decision-making capabilities. Nevertheless, CBC faces numerous challenges emanating from cultural contexts, socio-economic factors, and the way projects are designed and implemented. Despite some degree of success, most projects and programs have failed to achieve conservation and development objectives. Neither protectionism nor CBC has been sufficient in addressing conservation threats. Unsustainable use continues affecting the biodiversity. Unsustainable bushmeat hunting, for instance, has effects on ecosystem dynamics, and threatens the future of targeted species and their habitats. In efforts to enhance the management of protected areas, most countries in Africa adopted CBC in 1980’s to address biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction through benefit sharing, and natural resources governance. Despite these new developments hunting remains an important economic activity that local people can hardly survive without bushmeat. On the other hand, crop raiding by wildlife challenges crop production in areas where agriculture is part of rural livelihoods. Crop loss from wildlife causes food insecurity, increases poverty, and consequently fuels unsustainable use of natural resources. The thesis examines wildlife conservation and people’s livelihoods in the west and east of Serengeti National Park, northern Tanzania. First, the thesis examines the relationship between government conservation institutions, District Councils, private investors, and local people in order to identify the factors influencing people perceptions towards protected areas and their relationship with the identified stakeholders. Second, it reviews the foundation, processes, and levels of participatory wildlife management. Third, it identifies the levels and causes of bushmeat hunting with a view to suggest sustainable solutions. Fourth, it examines crop production in the presence of wildlife, other influencing factors, and the need for improved people’s livelihoods. In Serengeti, local people perceptions towards protected areas and their relationships with other stakeholders were influenced by benefits from conservation and access to natural resources. Education, number of livestock, and type of CBC outreach scheme had significant influence on people perceptions and their relationships with other stakeholders. The study findings suggest that local people were eager to participate in wildlife management; they were also familiar with how decisions were being made and the institutions that made decisions. In this study it is learnt that people were not adequately involved in decision making processes and were merely informed about the decisions that had been taken. The gender, household size, education, benefits, and crop-loss from wildlife were all important factors in influencing participatory wildlife management. The result suggests bushmeat hunting to be taking place in the Serengeti Ecosystem and was important economic activity in Western Serengeti. The majority depended on bushmeat as a source of protein and a few relied on it for protein and income. Immigration of people, ethnic background, and number of livestock were cited to influence bushmeat hunting. The findings suggest that most people were engaged in crop production although agriculture was not considered an important activity. It is therefore concluded that bushmeat hunting was an alternative activity to crop production. The results further suggest that crop production was mostly affected by problematic wildlife especially small-medium sized animals, inadequate farming skills, and unpredictable rainfall. Education, employment status, wealth, immigration status, and area (east and west of Serengeti national park) influenced crop production significantly. In view of the findings, the study proposes: strengthening of the classical CBC outreach type and coverage in terms of beneficiaries and levels of benefits, and access to natural resources; investment in education as a foundation for conservation and sustainable development; improving law enforcement, coordination, and good governance to make wildlife conservation a successful endeavour; addressing poverty using natural resources in a sustainable manner; introducing compensation scheme to extreme cases of crop destructions; and improving delivery and quality of social and extension services in villages.