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Original Research

Herders’ ecological knowledge and carnivore predation on livestock investigations in Makgadikgadi and Nxai national parks, Botswana

Lucas P. Rutina, Kefentse M. Mogwera, Elford Seonyatseng, Charles Mpofu, Ditso Ntloyathuto

Koedoe; Vol 59, No 2 (2017), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/koedoe.v59i2.1389

Submitted: 08 March 2016
Published:  24 July 2017

Abstract

Botswana is one of the countries in Southern Africa that pay compensation for human properties damaged by wildlife. Before compensation is paid, a thorough investigation on determining wildlife species that have caused the damage is mandatory. Because of insufficient resources by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, the initial investigation is carried out by herders. Three basic indicators are used to determine carnivore predation; sighting the carnivore at the kill, tracks of the predator and examining the carcasses. In this study, we tested herders’ knowledge on the above three indicators. The study was conducted in a communal area around Makgadikgadi and Nxai national parks, Botswana, where the main activities practiced by the local communities is pastoral farming. In general, there was a significant association between reported and perceived incidents of predation for all carnivores at all distances from protected areas. Herders were able to identify the large carnivores visually. But they had difficulties in identifying carnivore tracks and kill characteristics. The results demonstrate the importance of involvement of local communities in human–wildlife conflict management. However, more education regarding identification of carnivore tracks and kill behaviour is needed for herders in the study area.

Conservation implications: Based on the results of this study, this calls for a change in the management of human–wildlife conflict (HWC) and administration of the compensation scheme. Decentralising HWC to local communities using existing government structures that exist at local level will not only supplement the inadequate resources by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) to effectively mitigate the problem, but also empower local communities’ participation in wildlife management.


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Author affiliations

Lucas P. Rutina, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, Botswana
Kefentse M. Mogwera, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, Botswana
Elford Seonyatseng, Research Division, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Botswana
Charles Mpofu, Research Division, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Botswana
Ditso Ntloyathuto, Okavango Research Institute, University of Botswana, Botswana

Keywords

carnivore predation; Makgadikgadi National Park; Nxai National park; Local Ecological Knowledge; Botswana; Lion; Wilddog

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ISSN: 0075-6458 (print) | ISSN: 2071-0771 (online)

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