Patterns of wildlife exploitation in the Ugalla ecosystems of Western Tanzania
Ngure, Paulo Wilfred (2012) Patterns of wildlife exploitation in the Ugalla ecosystems of Western Tanzania. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
Unsustainable use of wildlife is a global conservation challenge. Understanding ecosystem specific patterns of wildlife exploitation is key to addressing this challenge. This thesis explores the nature of wildlife exploitation in and around Ugalla Game Reserve in western Tanzania. The reserve is divided into Ugalla east and Ugalla west tourist hunting blocks. First, I assessed the status of wildlife in the hunting blocks. Overall, estimates of wildlife population parameters suggested that Ugalla west was somewhat more exploited than Ugalla east. Second, I looked at the degree to which the hunting blocks experienced illegal wildlife hunting (poaching) and factors behind this. The spatial distribution of poaching signs and household interviews revealed that poaching was widespread, more so in Ugalla west than Ugalla east. Proximity to the reserve encouraged poaching, although bushmeat consumption increased with distance from the reserve. A wide range of bushmeat species was favoured, but the common species were impala Aepyceros melampus, dik-dik Madoqua kirkii and common duiker Sylvicapra grimmia. Availability of alternative sources of animal protein, agricultural production and income had significant influences on poaching. Different forms of poaching were specialist activities largely independent of each other. To address poaching, the main focus of attention has been on creating wildlife management areas (WMAs) along with allowing legal subsistence hunting by the communities around the reserve. Third, I assessed the impact of legal subsistence hunting on the wildlife species, and showed that it is not well managed and wildlife populations are contracting. This leaves WMAs as a potentially viable option for the conservation of Ugalla. Therefore, lastly, I identified and recounted some options for promoting the sustainability of WMAs. This thesis presents the first detailed assessment of wildlife exploitation in Ugalla, thus contributing to the existing body of knowledge on tackling the bushmeat crisis in Africa.
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