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Title: Reviled as a grave-robber : the ecology and conservation of striped hyaenas in the human-dominated landscapes of Lebanon
Author: Abi-Said, Mounir R.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3391 0607
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2006
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Large mammalian carnivores can prey on livestock and threaten human life, while myths that surround them can worsen attitudes towards human-carnivore conflict. Striped hyaenas suffer from such myths, and are classified globally as near threatened because of ongoing persecution throughout their range. Nevertheless, striped hyaenas are the least studied of all hyaenas. Reports of conflict allowed selection of six study sites across rural and urban areas, and close to and far from protected areas. The ecology of striped hyaenas and their interactions with people in the human dominated landscape of Lebanon are described. The abundance of striped hyaenas in urban areas was high relative to rural areas, and was close to zero in and around two protected areas, where no prey was available. Striped hyaenas are omnivorous scavengers, and can easily co-exist with people. In urban areas, their home range varied from 6.2 to 9.0 km², and was five times smaller than in rural areas. Moreover, striped hyaenas avoid contact with people in both urban and rural areas. Local people generally knew about the ecology of striped hyaenas. Moreover, elders related 14 types of mythical story about striped hyaenas, of which 11 portrayed striped hyaenas in a poor light. The Lebanese public also know these stories, which underpin the negative attitudes they hold towards striped hyaenas. An active awareness programme, comprising a seminar given by a conservationist and an information leaflet, changed the views of >83% of local people towards striped hyaenas. Moreover, the active awareness programme changed the views of >80% of adults and >88% of students visiting a zoo near Beirut. In contrast, passive education did little to change views of zoo visitors. Therefore, active conservation education programmes offer promising opportunities to improve negative attitudes towards striped hyaenas.
Supervisor: Leader-Williams, Nigel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: GE Environmental Sciences ; GN Anthropology