Tanzania has one of the fastest growing human populations in the world. But even if there are places where the population density isn't yet that high, the number of conflicts between humans and other species is expected to rise as pressure on land areas grows.
Angela Mwakatobe, who recently defended her PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, has studied villages at various distances from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to see how people interact with the wildlife and the best ways to protect both.
The buffer zones around Serengeti and Tanzania's other national parks are subject to certain rules. Here, human activity is only allowed if it benefits both the environment and local communities.
Schools and water wells
"Farmers living close to Serengeti National Park get training on how to handle and protect the wildlife in the area, and are also given the sense that this is important to themselves as well," says Mwakatobe.
The locals are compensated in the form of community investments, such as schools and water wells. Twenty-five percent of the income from the parks is fed back into local communities, and local authorities are supposed to distribute these benefits among the residents.
Not surprisingly and in spite of these efforts, there are clashes between villagers and wildlife in the settlements close to the national park.
But even 80 kilometers (49 miles) away from the border there are conflicts between humans and animals, her research shows.
For that reason Mwakatobe thinks that education and support are also important for people even further away. The conflicts arise over attacks on wildlife, raids on crops, disease and use of bushmeat.
Enclosures and guard dogs
Attacks on livestock and crop raids are more common the closer villages are to the national park. In general, people who keep livestock in the villages located close to the protected areas are on constant guard with arrows and spears while their animals are out grazing. More....