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Title: Conflict or coexistence : human-lion relationships in Kenya's southern Maasailand and beyond
Author: Western, Guy
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 7922
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Large carnivore populations across the world continue to decline despite concerted efforts to protect them. The range-wide collapse of African lions (Panthera leo) epitomizes this decline. Lions are now confined to 8% of their former range, much outside of formally protected areas. Coexistence with, and tolerance of lions, by communities living within the remaining lion range is therefore essential to their conservation. I sought to investigate the socio-economic, political, cultural, and ecological factors which create and allow for human-lion coexistence. My results show that desire to see current lion populations maintained or increased was not ubiquitous or prevalent amongst communities living with lions. Instead, it was predominantly influenced by exposure to personal benefits (tangible and non-tangible) from conservation. These benefits did not always create a desire to see current lion populations maintained because this was heavily influenced by socio-political context and historical narratives of conservation present within a community. Lions living within pastoral rangelands in Kenya's South Rift Valley maintained home ranges comparable in size to those found in prey abundant protected areas and range size was unaffected by seasonal changes in settlement and livestock. Both were influenced by rainfall, pride biomass, cub age and prey dispersion. Pastoralists living in these same areas willingly grazed in areas of known lion presence to attain better pasture. Their use of traditional ecological knowledge and traditional livestock herding helped them to do so. When lion depredations did occur, guarding of livestock at pasture disrupted attacks resulting in reduced mortality. The collective findings of this thesis demonstrate that coexistence between lions and human can be both desirable and achievable.
Supervisor: Macdonald, David ; Loveridge, Andy ; Dickman, Amy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available