Human-wildlife interactions in the Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem, Central Tanzania
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- Institutt for biologi 
Human wildlife interactions pose the challenges to life and livelihoods of humans living around wildlife protected areas (PA). Similarly, these interactions affect wildlife negatively, thus undermining the conservation efforts. This thesis seeks to understand how human wildlife interactions affect human beings and wildlife in the Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem (RRE) in central Tanzania. This understanding is important in devising effective management interventions as authorities and agencies seek to ensure a beneficial and harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife. The first part of this thesis is composed of three publishedpapers: An Assessment of crop and livestock losses caused by wild animals (Paper I), Human-elephant interactions in areas surrounding the Rungwa, Kizigo, and Muhesi Game Reserves, central Tanzania (Paper II) and the Awareness and Attitudes of Local People towards Wildlife Conservation in the Rungwa Game Reserve in Central Tanzania (Paper III). This study has established that the incidences of livestock depredation and crop damage were found to be higher in areas closest to the reserve boundary (Paper 1). Crop losses caused by wildlife in the area averaged 430 kg (equivalent to US$ 126) per household per year for households reporting to have incurred such losses. Maize crops were identified as the main food crops cultivated by farmers in the study area, which were mostly raided by wild animals. Other types of crops cultivated and reported to have been damaged by wild animals include bean, groundnut, sunflower, and other mixed crops. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) was the most reported problem animal and was responsible for more than 96% of crop losses (Paper I). Livestock depredation by large carnivores resulted in an average loss of 1.9 animals per household per year. Over the last 12 months, a total of 39 cattle, 26 goats, 14 sheep and 4 donkeys were reported to have been killed by large carnivores. The average economic losses of livestock in the area are equivalent to US $243.25 per household per year. The most commonly referenced large carnivore was the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), followed by the lion (Panthera leo) and leopard (Panthera pardus) (Paper I). The most significant contributing factor was found to be distance to the PA, as most reporting livestock depredation incidences were from the villages located closest to the Game Reserve. Crop damage caused by African elephants considerably increased with less distance from the reserve boundary. Farmers residing close to the PA’s borders reported crop damage much more frequently than those with farms farther from the boundary (Paper II). In more distant villages, people were more likely to support the conservation of wildlife than those residing in the closest villages (Paper III). The most important factor influencing people’s attitudes towards wildlife conservation in the area was found to be the distance from the reserve boundary and areas in which a person farmed. Other factors identified include the farmer’s age, immigration status, occupation and education level and incidents of crop damage and livestock depredation (Paper III). The second part of the thesis is composed of two published papers: Trophy Hunting Versus Ecotourism as a Conservation Model? Assessing the Impacts on Ungulate Behaviour and Demographics in the Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem, Central Tanzania (paper IV) and Drivers of conservation crimes in the Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi Game Reserves, Central Tanzania (Paper V). Paper IV establishes that trophy hunting affects animal behaviour by rendering hunted animals more vigilant, by increasing flight initiation distance (FID), and by decreasing group sizes and calf ratios. The effect of trophy hunting on ungulate behaviours was examined by comparing the behaviours of the impala (Aepyceros melampus) and greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) in hunted populations of the Rungwa Game Reserve (RGR) and in non-hunted populations of Ruaha National Park (RNP) of Central Tanzania. In the adjoining RNP, the only permitted tourism activity is photographic tourism, and thus, it served as a control site. The observed differences were ascribed to the direct and indirect effects of trophy hunting in the RGR. Residents in the study area also engage in the illegal harvesting of forest resources and wild animals (Paper V). The results of Paper V show that people who do not own land or livestock, unemployed, and young males are more likely to commit conservation crimes in the area. Furthermore, those who own livestock but lack land for pasture or grazing areas are more likely to move their livestock into the RGR. The encroachment for agriculture into areas adjacent to the RRE has been a major cause of escalating conflict due to crop damage and livestock depredation by problem animals, as most conflicts occur in areas close to the boundaries of the PA. Mitigation measures have involved the use of traditional and simple methods of noise creation, aversive crop planting (chilli), and beehive establishment around farm boundaries, but such methods have not been effective in controlling the damage caused by problem wild animals. In ensuring the continued coexistence of wildlife and human beings in the study area, this work makes the following recommendations. Conservation education on appropriate mitigation measures for controlling crop and livestock losses by wild animals must be provided. Education will foster local knowledge and enhance the awareness of and attitudes toward co-existence with wildlife. Land use planning is also recommended, as currently most of the known wildlife dispersal areas in the area are not established or zoned, which risks their future destruction and loss. We also recommend farmers to avoid farming in areas close to the PA, as our findings and experience from other ecosystems show that crop farms positioned close to PA boundaries tend to be the most heavily affected. Strengthening law enforcement as a deterrence measure. Development of entrepreneurship skills. This will enhance employment as a means of limiting the illegal harvesting of wild animals and forest resources.
Has partsPaper 1: Hariohay KM, Fyumagwa RD, Kideghesho JR, Røskaft, E. 2017. Assessing crop and livestock losses along the Rungwa-Katavi Wildlife Corridor, South Western Tanzania. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation Vol. 9(8), pp. 273-283; This article is published under the terms Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://doi.org/10.5897/IJBC2017.1116.
Paper 2: Hariohay KM, Munuo WA, Røskaft, E. 2018. Human-elephant interactions in areas surrounding the Rungwa, Kizigo, and Muhesi Game Reserves, central Tanzania. Oryx Fauna & Flora International
Paper 3: Hariohay KM, Fyumagwa RD, Kideghesho JR, Røskaft, E. 2018. Awareness and Attitudes of Local People towards Wildlife Conservation in the Rungwa Game Reserve in Central Tanzania. Journal of Human Dimensions of Wildlife; https://doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2018.1494.
Paper 4: Hariohay KM, Craig J, Fyumagwa RD, Røskaft, E. 2018. Trophy hunting versus ecotourism as a conservation model? Assessing the impacts on ungulate behaviour and demographics in the Ruaha-Rungwa Ecosystem, central Tanzania: Environment and Natural Resources Research 8(2) 2018; This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). https://doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v8n2p33.
Paper 5: Hariohay KM, Ranke PS, Fyumagwa RD, Kideghesho JR, Røskaft, E. 2019. Drivers of conservation crimes in the Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi Game Reserves, Central Tanzania. International Journal of Global Ecology and Conservation Volume 17, January 2019, e00522 This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00522