Research Article

Assessing the failure of a community-based human-wildlife conflict mitigation project in Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

A. D. Webbera1 c1, C. M. Hilla1 and V. Reynoldsa2

a1 Anthropology Centre for Conservation, Environment and Development, Department of Anthropology & Geography, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 OBP, UK

a2 School of Anthropology, Oxford University, Oxford, UK


Primate crop raiding is a major cause of human-wildlife conflict around the forests of western Uganda. In an attempt to ameliorate the situation a conflict mitigation strategy was established in villages around the Budongo Forest Reserve in 2001. Live-traps were constructed that allowed the identification of crop raiding animals; pest species could be disposed of and threatened species released unharmed. However, by 2004 none of the traps in the study area were functioning and interviews were conducted to assess the reasons for their decline and local people's acceptance of the intervention. Forty-one percent of respondents did not believe the strategy was effective and the majority of local farmers did not accept responsibility for the traps. This was because of operational failures in four areas: (1) the identification of key stakeholders, (2) objective evaluation to assess the efficacy and benefit of the intervention, (3) participatory monitoring and evaluation, and (4) long-term funding commitment by conservation agencies. We examine the impact of these four elements upon the sustainability of the live-trap programme and stress the importance of recognizing and reporting failures to develop effective and acceptable mitigation strategies.

(Received January 06 2006)

(Revised April 26 2006)

(Accepted October 02 2006)


c1 email: awebber@brookes.ac.uk