Comparative analysis of the typology, seasonality and economic cost of human-wildlife conflict in Kajiado and Laikipia Counties, Kenya

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David Owino Manoa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8415-5004
Francis Mwaura
Thuita Thenya
Stellah Mukhovi

Keywords

Human-wildlife conflict, typology, trend, economic losses, Kajiado, Laikipia

Abstract

Human –wildlife conflicts (HWC) affect the social-economic aspects of millions of people across the world and is one of the most important challenges facing wildlife conservation. Long-term data collection provides an opportunity to critically understand HWC trends and enable wildlife stakeholders to create evidence-based solutions for co-existence of people and wildlife. We used Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) data for the 2010-2018 period to analyse trends in typology, seasonality and economic costs of HWC in Kajiado and Laikipia Counties in Kenya. A total of 953 HWC reported cases in the two counties were analysed. Wildlife threats to human life, crop damage and livestock predation were the common form of HWC, contributing 65.7% (n=626), 21.7% (n=207), and 7.7% (n=73) respectively. Apart from livestock predation (t=2.431; P=0.028) all other types of HWC did not show any significant differences in the two counties over the nine-year period. Elephants were responsible for the highest conflict cases (79%, n=753) followed by baboons (6.9%, n=66). Elephants contributed to the highest human fatality and injuries (43%, n=10); while snakes and buffalo were second, each contributing to 17% (n=4) of the total cases. Majority of the HWC occurred in the dry season months of July (n=114), January (n=99) and October (n=96). The overall trend indicated increasing HWC cases over the 9 years in both counties. The analysis of economic cost of HWC showed that a total of 64.09 hectares of crops were damaged in 2010-2018, with 70% of the cases reported in Kajiado County. In terms of predation, Kajiado lost livestock worth KES 1,785, 000 (U$ 16,780.53) while Laikipia lost KES 407,000 (U$ 3826.15). This study provides empirical evidence that can be used to develop strategies for mitigating HWC based on types, seasons and conflict species.