Factors influencing crop raiding in communities adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, South Western Uganda
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The research was carried out in two communities adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in South Western Uganda. The research aimed at assessing main factors influencing crop raiding, identifying animal species most involved and crops raided, and examining the mitigation measures taken against crop raiding. The research conducted was both qualitative and quantitative in nature whereby descriptive cross sectional methods were used. Data was collected using questionnaires, one to one interviews, direct observations, and reviewing of literature, and data collected was later analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The results of the study indicated that proximity of crop farms to the park and types of crops grown are the major factors influencing crop raiding around the park. Animal species most involved in crop raiding from the park include baboons and wild pigs. Other animals are monkeys, mountain gorillas and birds. Most raided crops include sweet potatoes, cassava, maize, and bananas by wild animals. The least raided crops include tea, red pepper, tobacco and onions. 93.3% of the respondents had ever experienced or heard crop raiding incidences. This means crop raiding is a serious problem in communities adjacent to the park. Therefore the study recommended that palatable and nutritive crops should not be grown within the fringes of the park, conservation education is paramount, coherent land use plans should be emphasized to determine where certain crops can be grown. The study further recommended more research on the effect of forest fruiting patterns on the crop raiding by Apes. This will help to determine which crops should be grown in a particular season of the year to reduce the risk of crops being raided around the park.