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Kiffner C.,University of Gottingen | Kiffner C.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies | Stanko M.,Slovak Academy of Sciences | Morand S.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | And 8 more authors.
Parasitology Research

We studied the effect of host gender and body mass on species richness of flea infracommunities in nine rodent host species from three biomes (temperate zone of central Europe, desert of the Middle East and the tropics of East Africa). Using season- and species-specific generalized linear mixed models and controlling for year-to-year variation, spatial clustering of rodent sampling and over-dispersion of the data, we found inconsistent associations between host characteristics and flea species richness. We found strong support for male-biased flea parasitism, especially during the reproductive period (higher species richness in male hosts than in females) in all considered European rodents (Apodemus agrarius, Myodes glareolus and Microtus arvalis) and in one rodent species from the Middle East (Dipodillus dasyurus). In contrast, two of three African rodent species (Lophuromys kilonzoi and Praomys delectorum) demonstrated a trend of female-biased flea species richness. Positive associations between body mass and the number of flea species were detected mainly in males (five of nine species: A. agrarius, M. glareolus, M. arvalis, D. dasyurus and Mastomys natalensis) and not in females (except for M. natalensis). The results of this study support earlier reports that gender-biased, in general, and male-biased, in particular, infestation by ectoparasites is not a universal rule. This suggests that mechanisms of parasite acquisition by an individual host are species-specific and have evolved independently in different rodent host-flea systems. © 2014 Springer-Verlag. Source

Okello M.M.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies | Kenana L.,Kenya Wildlife Service | Kieti D.,Moi University
Tourism Analysis

Tourism is a very important source for foreign revenue for Kenya. But most of this revenue is from international tourists. However, international tourists cannot always support the tourism industry, especially in years of economic, political, and social turmoil. A vibrant domestic tourism can cushion the industry from fluctuations of the international tourism market and bring stability and predictability in the industry. This study sought to address factors influencing urban and semiurban local population visitation to Nairobi National Park (NNP), and suggest ways of improving it in Kenya. The data for this study were gathered through semistructured interviews and discussions with communities surrounding the park. The results revealed that a significant (p < 0.001) majority (66%) of the community had visited the park. About half of the people (59%) were interested in viewing wildlife as the main recreational opportunity provided by the park. However, only less than 50% of the community had visited the park more than three times in their lifetime. The level of education influenced the likelihood of the community to visit the park and appreciate its conservation contribution. Even though the lack of free time, lack of interest in wildlife, or the thinking that protected areas in Kenya were meant for foreign tourists, were not hindrances to local community visiting the parks, they noted that key constraints were lack of extra disposable income, high cost of food and hospitality services inside the park for local communities, and poor marketing of parks especially targeting local Kenyans hindered high visitation rates of local Kenyans to protected areas. A large number (81%) of community members mentioned poor marketing as the reason for low park visits. Indeed, 96% said no form of advertisement for NNP had influenced their decision to visit. Hence, there is a need for new domestic customer-oriented marketing and a more friendly hospitality services tailored to local tourists among government policy to improve the economy to release more disposable income for leisure targeting NNP and other protected areas in Kenya. © 2012 Cognizant Comm. Corp. Source

Okello M.M.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies
Open Conservation Biology Journal

A majority of large mammals from Amboseli National Park rely on group ranch wildlife dispersal areas for wet season dispersal. However, the contraction of wildlife dispersal areas around Amboseli may be increasing, but the extent is unknown. This study investigated the contraction of wildlife dispersal area by human infrastructure in Olgulului-Ololorashi Group Ranch, which surrounds over 90% of Amboseli Park. Global Positioning System (GPS) was used for location and Geographical Information System (GIS) was used for spatial analysis to determine the area occupied by the structures. The minimum distance of wildlife kept away from institutions was 275 ± 20 m, followed by bomas (214 ± 16m), roads (163 ± 9 m), and livestock (192 ± 12 m). The minimum distance of wildlife from human infrastructure was used as an index of wildlife displacement. All infrastructure occupied an actual area of 66 km2 (5%) of the group ranch. This increased to 281 km2 (23%) with wildlife displacement. Of the area occupied by human infrastructure, fourteen settlement clusters (199 km2, 10.82%) were located. Bomas covered 10% of the group ranch area, followed by institutions (6%), roads (5%), and agriculture (2.13%). The infrastructures were widely distributed in the group ranch and around the Amboseli. Although more dispersal space was available, the spatial distribution of clusters and infrastructure threaten wildlife dispersal. If the obstruction of dispersal routes is not addressed, the group ranch will be compromised as a wildlife dispersal area for Amboseli National Park. © Okello and Kioko; Licensee Bentham Open. Source

Kioko J.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies | Kiffner C.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies | Ndibalema V.,Sokoine University of Agriculture | Hartnett E.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Seefeld C.,Colorado State University
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge

Effective wildlife conservation requires understanding and integration of cultural values and practices among communities within wildlife range areas. In Africa, elephants still roam outside protected areas and frequently interact with local people. Maasai-land in East Africa has a considerable elephant population, estimated to number 20,000 individuals, yet there is little understanding of the cultural values and perception of elephants among the Maasai people. Information on the values and perceptions of elephants among the Maasai in northern Tanzania were investigated through informal and semi-structured interviews. There was widespread use of elephant parts (mainly tusks and dung) for traditional medicine, socio-cultural and nutritional purposes. Despite the current global concern about the future of African elephant, the Maasai people believed that elephant survival was not under serious threat and that populations are increasing. Elephant Conservation programs should consider level of awareness, the values and perceptions of the local people. © 2015, National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR). All rights reserved. Source

Koziarski A.,University of Maryland University College | Kissui B.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies | Kiffner C.,Center for Wildlife Management Studies
Biological Conservation

Despite their cultural, economic, and ecological importance, large carnivores are experiencing a global decline, largely due to conflict with humans. In this study we assessed the spatial and temporal patterns and socioeconomic correlates of perceived conflict with lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, and wild dogs in the Ngorongoro Highlands and Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem of Northern Tanzania using structured interviews (n = 356). Conflict with large carnivores was mainly prevalent during the wet season, and was spatially highly heterogeneous. Hyenas were the predominant conflict species, followed by leopards. Employing species-specific generalized linear mixed effects models, we assessed spatial, psychological, socio-economic and demographic correlates of perceived conflict. Interestingly, we found few consistencies among correlates for reported conflict frequency. Ethnicity, gender, age, education, fear of large carnivore species, and education had mixed effects on perceived conflict frequency while livestock ownership and relative wealth were negligible in explaining reported conflict frequency. These results suggest that education, psychological and demographic attributes were more influential (though dependent on species and landscape) in wildlife conflict perceptions than economic considerations. Although effective mitigation methods were generally available, they were rarely employed. We suggest that mitigation strategies that address local needs be made more accessible, and that conservation education programs particularly target conflict hotspot areas. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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