Environmental Conservation

The impact of wildlife-related benefits on the conservation attitudes of local people around the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

a1 Department of Biological Anthropology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DZ, UK


In recent years there has been a proliferation of projects aiming to integrate human development needs with conservation objectives, and to establish mutually beneficial relationships for the management of natural resources between rural communities and the state. This paper presents data from a case study of human-wildlife interactions in villages along the northern boundary of the Selous Game Reserve in south-east Tanzania. Since 1989, this area has been the site of a project working to promote community wildlife management (CWM). Questionnaire survey data were used to examine villagers' conservation attitudes towards wildlife, the Game Reserve, and the activities of the CWM project and state wildlife management authority. Despite local support for the conservation of wildlife, many respondents were either unaware or held negative views of the activities of the wildlife management institutions. Logistic regression analyses show that while access to game meat from the CWM project has had a positive influence on perceptions of wildlife benefits and awareness of the project's activities, it has had no significant effect on local perceptions of the Game Reserve and the activities of the state wildlife management authority. The factors underlying the observed pattern of conservation attitudes were identified as the inequitable distribution of benefits from the CWM project, and the limited nature of community participation in wildlife management. The importance of institutional issues for the future progress of participatory approaches to conservation with development is emphasized.

(Received April 1 1999)
(Accepted July 6 1999)

Key Words: benefit-sharing; human-animal conflict; institutions; development; communities.

c1 Correspondence: Dr Phyllis C. Lee Tel: +44 1223 335459 Fax: +44 1223 335460 e-mail:pcl1@cus.cam.ac.uk