MASTEWAL YAMI DEGEFA1, KINDEYA GEBREHIWOT2, EMIRU BIRHANE HIZIKIAS3, WOLDE MEKURIA4
1University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Centre for Development Research, Austria
2Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Dept. of Tropical Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Germany
3Mekelle University, Land Resources Management and Enviromental Protection, Ethiopia
4Georg-August Universität Göttingen, Dept. of Soil Science of Tropical and Subtropical Ecosystems, Germany
This study was conducted to assess the human--wildlife conflicts around exclosures as perceived by farmers in Tigray, Ethiopia. Individual interviews of sixty respondents which were selected from the list of households using stratified random sampling, and focus group discussions were conducted in data collection. Chi-square test was used for data analysis. The study revealed that there were human"=wildlife conflicts of different forms which could influence the co"=existence between large wild mammals and man. Among the conflicts mentioned by the respondents, damages on crops and domestic animals by large wild mammals were the most common. There is a variation in the opinions of respondents on the extent of damages caused by large wild mammals as 40% of the respondents rated the damage very high while 40% rated less. Killing of the dangerous large wild mammals and using different preventive measures such as smoke at farmlands and around houses were considered by the respondents useful to reduce the damage by large wild mammals. It is found that the relationship between age and education level of respondents with advantage of wildlife and killing animals as a strategy to solve conflicts were not significant (p > 0.05). This could be due to the absence of wildlife related courses in elementary schools. The respondents perceived that the establishment of exclosures near human residence and existence of hiding places for large wild mammals were the two main causes of the conflicts. Thus, during exclosure establishment, distance to human residence should be considered to minimise the potential conflicts between large wild mammals and villagers, and thereby ensure the sustainable conservation of biodiversity and forest rehabilitation through establishing exclosures. Awareness creation and incorporation of wildlife education in elementary schools are important to enable the local people understand the short and long"=term benefits of exclosures and wildlife resources.
Keywords: Biodiversity, conflicts, conservation, exclosure, forest rehabilitation, large wild mammals