Effects of Wildlife Crop Raiding on Livelihoods of People Adjacent to Kachung Forest Reserve, Dokolo District
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An investigation was carried out on the effects of wildlife crop raiding on livelihoods of people adjacent to Kachung Central Forest Reserve from December (2018) to January (2019) in Bardyang Parish, Adok Sub-county, Dokolo District. The specific objectives were to: (i) Document crops being raided and animals involved in crop raiding in gardens adjacent to the reserve, (ii) Assess the attitude of adjacent communities towards wildlife crop raiding in the area. (iii) Analyze management options being practiced by adjacent communities to combat crop raiding in the area. Structured questionnaires were administered to 60 households to capture information on the effects of wildlife crop raiding on their livelihoods. Key Informants Interviews were also conducted with people who had deep knowledge about wildlife crop raiding in the area. This included forest Managers, local council leaders, farmers, Plantation owners, selected forest workers and local leaders. Focus Group Discussion was carried out to validate the information from the field with those provided by the respondents through filling questionnaires. A Chi-square test was done to determine significance for relationships between the level of wildlife crop raiding and distances of gardens from forests edges. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the influence of socio-economic and demographic characteristics of farmer’s attitudes towards wildlife crop raiding. The results indicate that, monkeys were the most destructive wildlife in Bardyang Parish followed by wild birds and squirrels reported by 70.8%, 43.8% and 43.8% respectively. Legumes (beans, cowpea, and ground-nuts) were the most raided crop followed by cereals (Rice, Wheat, Maize, Sorghum, and Millet) then finally root-tubers (Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, and Carrots). Other than wildlife crop raiding, other factors that led to crop loss in the area included, drought, theft of crops from gardens, changes in seasons though their contribution was minimal in comparison to wildlife crop raiding. The most used methods of combating wildlife crop raiding in the area included the use of scare craws, chasing wildlife and guarding gardens reported by 95.0, 93.3% and 86.7% respectively. The least used methods of combating wildlife crop raiding in the area included poisoning, digging trenches around gardens and the use of nets for catching birds reported by 16.7%, 13.3% and 11.7% of the respondents respectively. There was no significant relationship between distance of gardens from forest edges and the level of wildlife crop raiding (P<0.05). Compensation of affected farmers especially those whose crops are damaged by wildlife should be taken as a priority. This would make them support wildlife conservation. Planting of crops that are less palatable to wildlife such as red paper, ginger, garlic, onion, moringa and lemongrass should also be encouraged so as to reduce the rate of wildlife crop raiding.