Balancing Wildlife Conservation and Community Challenges in Mankira Forest

Greg Howard
28th June, 2024

Balancing Wildlife Conservation and Community Challenges in Mankira Forest

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study in Mankira Forest, southwest Ethiopia, found that 95% of respondents experienced crop raiding and livestock predation
  • The main animals causing damage were olive baboons (39%), vervet monkeys (24.1%), crested porcupines (15.3%), African golden wolves (58.3%), and spotted hyenas (29.5%)
  • Maize was the most commonly raided crop, and 56.7% of respondents had negative attitudes towards wildlife conservation
Human-wildlife conflict is a pressing issue in many parts of Africa, particularly in rural areas where communities live in close proximity to wildlife. This conflict often manifests in crop raiding and livestock predation, leading to significant financial losses for farmers and fostering negative attitudes towards wildlife conservation. A recent study conducted by Wolaita Sodo University aimed to evaluate these conflicts and community attitudes in the Mankira Forest, located in southwest Ethiopia[1]. The study, conducted between November 2021 and September 2022, involved 241 randomly selected respondents from four villages. Data were collected using structured questionnaires, and the results were analyzed using chi-square tests and Pearson correlation to understand the relationships between various factors. The findings revealed that a staggering 95% of respondents experienced crop raiding and livestock predation. The primary culprits were identified as Papio anubis (olive baboon) at 39%, Chlorocebus aethiops (vervet monkey) at 24.1%, Hystrix cristata (crested porcupine) at 15.3%, Canis aures (African golden wolf) at 58.3%, and Crocuta crocuta (spotted hyena) at 29.5%. Maize was the most commonly raided crop, and 56.7% of respondents held negative attitudes towards wildlife conservation. This study aligns with earlier research in similar regions. For instance, a study around the Yayu Coffee Forest Biosphere Reserve found that crop raiding was more frequent closer to forest edges, with olive baboons, vervet monkeys, bush pigs, and crested porcupines being the top offenders[2]. The damage was more severe near the forest, and a significant portion of households perceived the forest as a threat to their survival. This highlights a common trend in human-wildlife conflict across different regions. Another study conducted around Bale Mountains National Park identified agricultural expansion, human settlement, and overgrazing as major causes of human-wildlife conflict. The local communities employed various techniques to mitigate these conflicts, such as crop guarding, live fencing, and scarecrows[3]. However, these measures were often insufficient, leading to continued negative impacts on both humans and wildlife. Similarly, research in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia found that livestock predation, primarily by spotted hyenas, and crop raiding by warthogs were significant issues. This study also noted that nearly half of the respondents had negative attitudes towards wildlife conservation, influenced by factors such as education level and penalties for illegal grazing[4]. The Mankira Forest study provides crucial insights into the specific dynamics of human-wildlife conflict in this previously under-researched area. The significant differences in attitudes towards wildlife conservation among different age groups suggest that tailored awareness and education programs could be effective in changing perceptions. Moreover, understanding the spatial patterns of crop raiding and livestock predation can help in designing targeted interventions. To mitigate these conflicts, the study emphasizes the need for rigorous management and planning. This includes creating awareness and training programs for local communities, establishing clear boundaries between human settlements and wildlife habitats, and formulating rules and regulations that balance the needs of both humans and wildlife. These recommendations are consistent with those from previous studies, which also called for better community engagement and equitable benefit-sharing to foster coexistence[3][4]. In conclusion, the study from Wolaita Sodo University underscores the complex interplay between human activities and wildlife behavior in the Mankira Forest. By addressing the gaps in understanding and managing human-wildlife conflict, it is possible to achieve the dual goals of community support and wildlife conservation. This research adds to the growing body of evidence that effective conflict mitigation requires a multifaceted approach, combining scientific research, community involvement, and policy interventions.



Main Study

1) Livestock predation, crop raiding, and community attitudes towards sustainable wildlife conservation in and around Mankira Forest, Southwest Ethiopia

Published 27th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Pattern of crop raiding by wild large mammals and the resultant impacts vary with distances from forests in Southwest Ethiopia.

3) Coexistence between human and wildlife: the nature, causes and mitigations of human wildlife conflict around Bale Mountains National Park, Southeast Ethiopia.

4) Human-wildlife conflict in the surrounding districts of Alage College, Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

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