Assessment of the attitudes of Busingiro community members towards crop raiding animals around Budongo forest
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This research dealt with the assessment of the attitudes of Busingiro community members towards crop raiding animals around Budongo forest. The research was carried out with the specific objectives of; (i) To document the crop raiding animals in Busingiro community from Budongo forest. (ii) To document the most vulnerable crops to crop raiders in the area and (iii) To document farmers’ approaches to solve the problem of crop raiding. This study emanates from the fact that crop raiding is a key problem to communities living at the frontiers of protected areas like Budongo forest and it acts as a causal factor that generates the local community’s hostility towards the forest leading to conservation problems. To be able to deal with the entire problem, studies have been recommended which has prompted this research. The research involved both quantitative and qualitative approaches using descriptive research design. Data were collected using direct participant observation, semi-structured questionnaires and reviewing of literature. The data collected were analyzed using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS). A total of 60 respondents from 6 villages of Busingiro parish were involved in the study. The results of the study indicated that 100% of the respondents were affected by the problem of crop raiding and over 80% of these respondents expressed negative attitudes towards responsible crop raiding animals mainly due to damages they cause and yet compensation is not done. Wild animal and bird species mostly involved in crop raiding from Budongo forest reserve were; baboons, red tail monkeys, squirrels, chimpanzees and weaver birds among others. These animals were reported to severely raid crops such as maize, tobacco, beans, cocoa, and rice. The least raided crops included yams, bananas, cow peas, and pawpaw. The approaches mostly used in controlling crop raiding animals included, guarding (96.7%), trapping (55%), poisoning (21.7%) and fencing (15%). The perceived effects of crop raiding in the area included low harvest, increased school children dropouts, increased hunting and famine as reported by 75%, 38.3%, 36.7% and 26.7% of the respondents respectively. The knowledge generated by this research can act as a prerequisite to designing optimal and effective management schemes, introducing suitable control measures as well as improving people’s positive attitude as a sure way for enhancing conservation.