Local knowledge and perceptions of animal population abundances by communities adjacent to the northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe

E. Gandiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-269
JournalTropical conservation science
Volume5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • traditional ecological knowledge
  • africa protected areas
  • wildlife management
  • conservation
  • perspective
  • prospects
  • indonesia
  • campfire
  • declines
  • tanzania

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