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Animal preferences and acceptability of wildlife management actions around Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Kalteenborn, Bjorn P., Bjerke, Tore, Nyahongo, Julius W., Williams, Daniel R.
Biodiversity and conservation 2006 v.15 no.14 pp. 4633
wild animals, public opinion, rural areas, wildlife management, interviews, surveys, sociodemographic characteristics, Tanzania
Wildlife management policies are often based on expert perceptions of the ecological importance of certain species and poorly informed perceptions of how public attitudes toward management are formed. Little is known about why preferences vary greatly and how this affects support for management actions. This paper explores preferences for a range of wildlife species among a sample of the rural population adjacent to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. We also examine the degree of acceptance for alternative management interventions when potentially dangerous animals pose different levels of problems to human beings, and the extent to which these attitudes are related to species preferences. Gender has a significant effect on species preferences. Men like most species better than women. Age has no significant effect, but level of education affects preference level for some species. Species preferences have a positive effect on support for management intervention when dangerous animals cause small or moderate problems to humans, i.e. there is a higher degree of acceptance of problems caused by animals that are well liked. In situations where human life is threatened, species preferences have no effect on preferred management actions. Appreciation of animals is a combination of functional, consumptive and cultural dimensions, and there is no simple link between species preferences and attitudes toward management actions. The local context and concrete experience with wildlife encounters is more important for shaping normative beliefs like attitudes towards management actions than global wildlife attitudes.