Attitudes of local people towards wildlife conservation in Bugoma Forest Reserve in Hoima District
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This research dealt with the attitudes of the local people towards wildlife conservation in Bugoma Forest Reserve. The research was carried out with the objectives of finding out the perceived benefits, challenges local people derive from the protected areas and assessing the factors that influence people’s attitudes towards wildlife conservation in protected areas. The studied took place in February 2019. The research conducted was both qualitative and quantitative in nature whereby descriptive cross sectional methods were used. Data were collected using questionnaires, interviews, literature reviews, and was later analyzed using statistical package for social scientists (SPSS). Treated data was summarized in tables and bar graph to enhance comprehensive and interpretation. Descriptive statistics such as cross tab was used to compare socio demographic profile of the respondents in Bugoma forest to determine whether there is significant different in attitudes. The result of the study indicated local communities in Bugoma forest had a positive attitude towards the protected area. The analyses revealed that attitudes were largely influenced by the perceived benefits, costs, occupation, and household size, level of education, sex, marital status and age. The findings suggest that increasing benefits such as access to firewood, timber, medicine, mushroom, white ants and rainfall from protected area and minimizing the costs such as crop raiding, migrates and hunters who destroy their crops on communities fosters positive attitude towards the concept of protected area and conservation. Additionally, perceptions of protected areas are likely to be more positive when the presence of the protected area improves the living conditions and brings development in the village. Considering this, conservation policies need to ensure that communities receive tangible benefits from protected areas if they are to support conservation.