a1 Environmental Sciences and Policy Department, Central European University, Nádor u. 9, Budapest 1051, Hungary
The attitudes of neighbouring communities towards protected areas are increasingly being considered in the establishment and management of national parks. In South Africa, more inclusive policies have been introduced which seek to involve neighbouring communities in policy formulation and management of Kruger National Park (KNP). This paper examines the attitudes of 38 communities towards KNP along its western border. A random survey of 240 households was conducted to assess attitudes towards the Park, and what factors might influence them. Attitudes were measured by responses to 12 related questions, which were transformed to construct an attitude index. Attitudes are more varied than previously reported. Notwithstanding KNP outreach programmes, many respondents had had no interaction with KNP, 72.9% had never been in the Park, and only 32.1% claimed they knew of KNP's activities. Having a household member employed by KNP, age and de jure Traditional Authority affiliation influenced more positive attitudes toward KNP. Negative attitudes were primarily linked with problems associated with damage-causing animals, including inadequate maintenance of the KNP border fence, poor animal control outside KNP and lack of compensation for affected farmers. These findings on relationships between KNP and its neighbours are relevant for many protected areas in similar contexts elsewhere.
(Received December 01 2006)
(Accepted May 14 2007)
(Online publication August 13 2007)