Understanding animal abundances and population trends is a fundamental goal of ecology. The aim of this study was to examine local ecological knowledge (LEK) held by local people bordering the northern Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), Zimbabwe, concerning domestic and wild animal species abundances and perceived population trends, in order to evaluate the possible contribution of LEK to wildlife conservation and management. Data were collected through interviews using a semi-structured questionnaire from 236 local people in communities adjacent to the northern GNP from December 2010 to May 2011. The results show that perceptions of domestic animal population trends were mixed, with 44% of the respondents perceiving an increase, 36% perceiving a decline, and 20% perceiving that domestic animal populations had remained the same between 2000 and 2010. Furthermore, about 76% of the respondents perceived that wild animal abundances had increased, 15% perceived a decline, and 9% perceived that wild animal abundances had remained the same in GNP between 2000 and 2010. Responses on perceptions of animal population trends were to a great extent in line with recorded population trends from conventional scientific studies. The study results suggest that LEK may serve as a valuable source of ecological information and could compliment scientific information for wildlife conservation and management, particularly in community-based natural resources management programmes.
|Journal||Tropical conservation science|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|
- traditional ecological knowledge
- africa protected areas
- wildlife management