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Title: Crop raiding and conflict : farmers' perceptions of human-wildlife interactions in Hoima district, Uganda
Author: Hiser, Karen Louise
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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Conflict between humans and crop raiding wildlife is a growing problem, particularly in tropical, unmechanised farming communities where increased competition for resources intensifies the likelihood of human-wildlife interactions. However, conflict can arise as much from perceptions of risk as actual damage, and perceived and actual degrees of risk do not always match. Hoima District in Uganda reportedly has a long-standing issue of crop raiding. Forest fragments in northern Hoima District support chimpanzees and other primates, and are surrounded by a mosaic of farms. During this study crop damage was monitored in farms next to four forest fragments each week for one year (November 2006 to November 2007), and farmers’ attitudes to crop raiding were explored through interviews and focus groups. Most farms lost less than 1% of their crops, and more than half of farms did not experience crop damage by large vertebrates (primates, porcupine, bush pig and civet). Cattle were responsible for over one third of the total area of damage; more than all other large vertebrates combined. Whilst local people do not consider crop raiding by wildlife to be as severe a risk to crops as disease and weather, conflict with wild animals does exist. Farmers’ attitudes appear less influenced by the area of crop damaged than by the frequency of damage events (real or perceived) and by factors external to crop loss: i) ability to control loss and impacts of loss, ii) a fear of personal safety, iii) labour requirements of managing crops. That farmers’ opinions of crop raiding animals appear to be shaped more by these external factors than by actual levels of crop loss is a likely consequence of the low level of damage present in the study sites. This research illustrates that perceptions of conflict between humans and crop raiding animals should always be examined in tandem with actual losses, and that conflict may persist in areas where little loss occurs. Employment of amelioration techniques must therefore be selected with care, as inappropriate use of these tools risks focusing farmers’ frustrations onto crop raiding activities and exacerbating conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available