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Local people’s attitude towards wildlife – precious or a pestilence?

Student Line Bøgelund Bang

Program MSc., Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Supervisor Professor Jens-Christian Svenning, Department of Bioscience, Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Aarhus University

Period October - November 2017

Area: In the Maasai Mara area in the southern part of Kenya lives the big, iconic mammals, Africa is known for. This includes the elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest amongst others. Outside the protected area of Maasai Mara National Reserve, the local people live side by side with these wild animals - as they have done for thousands of years. But in recent years the area has experienced a change from large, jointly owned land to small, private owned allotments.

Importance: If we are to protect the iconic wildlife, it is essential that people and wild animals continuously can live together under an increasing level of conflict. Therefore, a study of the local people’s attitude towards the wild animals is important knowledge in the conservation of the nature and the iconic wildlife of Africa.

Aim: The purpose of this master study is to examine the local peoples attitude towards the wild animals. Are the animals precious or a pestilence?

Hypothesis: Our hypothesis is that the people living close to the Maasai Mara National Reserve has a relatively positive attitude towards the wild animals because the animals attract tourism, thereby providing the people with an income. Farther away from the reserve, the primary income comes from farming. A herd of wildebeest crossing your field must be devastating, which is the reason for us to believe, the attitude towards wild animals is less positive here.

Method: To examine the hypothesis, a survey of 30 individuals from three different areas are conducted during October and November 2017 in the areas Mara Rianta (near the reserve), Aitong and Lemek (further away from the reserve).

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Revised 06.07.2017