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Reconciling elephant and local community wellbeing in Kenya: Identifying good practice management

Kili, Sharon J. (2016) Reconciling elephant and local community wellbeing in Kenya: Identifying good practice management. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Worldwide, human-elephant conflicts result in the destruction of elephant and community well-being. This occurs due to negative interactions between the two species affecting the conservation of elephants in Asia and Africa. Conflict incidences occur frequently near protected areas and have intensified in recent years due to increasing human populations and the expanding agricultural activities they practice. The aim of this thesis is to 1) establish the current status of HEC in Kenya 2) determine whether conflict resolution programs are achieving reconciliation 3) identify challenges experienced in trying to do so and 4) find out what constitutes good practice management. This thesis reviewed literature on the status of the conflict situation on a global and national scale to determine efforts made for conflict management. The focus of this study is on the elephants of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, Africa who are the longest studied elephants in the world but who are in constant conflict with the community. The Kenya Wildlife Service is the authority mandated to protect these elephants but which faces challenges in trying to run conflict resolution programs with the community. A field study was carried out in January 2016 at Amboseli to establish whether conflict resolution programs in place are achieving reconciliation and identify the challenges experienced by the park management in trying to do so. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 13 individuals comprising of community leaders, KWS managers and NGOs/Associations. The information obtained was analysed and coded according to emergent themes which established that due to several challenges, conflict resolution programs were not proving effective. The study therefore identified good practice management as establishing proper communication channels to create an abundant share of knowledge between the park authorities, NGOs and community and collaborative efforts towards achieving effective reconciliation.

Key words: human-elephant conflict, conflict resolution programs, human-elephant conflict management, reconciliation

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor(s): Hughes, Michael and Rodger, Kate
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