Effects of human-wildlife Conflicts on Local People's Livelihoods and Wildlife Conservation in and around Alitash National Park, Northwest Ethiopia
Human-wildlife conflict becomes one of the fundamental aspects of wildlife management because it threatens both wildlife and human. People injured, abused, and killed wildlife in response to the perceived and/or actual damages from wildlife. Such negative interaction between humans and wildlife exists everywhere but is more intense and costly in adjacent protected areas. This study aimed to assess the effects of human-wildlife conflicts on local people's livelihood and wildlife conservation in
... nd around Alitash National Park. The primary data were collected using multi-stage sampling techniques by employing a combination of social survey methods involving participatory techniques (focus group discussions and key informant interviews) and structured household interviewers. The survey questionnaire consisted of both open-ended and fixed-response questions designed to solicit information mainly for wildlife-caused damages and other costs to the local community along with human-induced wildlife decline and perceptions towards wildlife conservation. The results revealed that 59.6% of the respondents encountered at least a single type of damage. More than half (54%) of respondents encountered crop damage, of which 34.4% lost up to 25% of their crop fields whereas the amount of loss to the remaining (18.7%) was to 75% of the crop fields. The livestock loss during the last five years of the period prior to the survey administration was 287.89 tropical livestock units which were shared by 47.5 % of the respondents. Wildlife attacks on humans were rare but eighteen attacks were caused by Panther leo, Crocuta crocuta and Panthera pardus were encountered when the victims cross the habitats of the species. The responses of the victims to the wildlife imposed the damage was negative and full of anger and resentment. This has been undermining conservation efforts and the socio-economic welfare of the local people around Alitash National Park. Providing alternative livelihood opportunities and creating a context-based conservation scheme along with continuous conservation education would help to reduce the negative effect of human-wildlife conflicts on both wildlife and people in the study area.