Hippos and Humans: Human-Wildlife Conflict at the Kiri Dam, Northeastern Nigeria

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Original Author (Copyright Owner):

Ibrahim Abubakar Radda

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  • Name: Hippos and Humans: Human-Wildlife Conflict at the Kiri Dam, Northeastern Nigeria
  • Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)
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  • Length: [47] Pages

 

ABSTRACT

Globally, human-wildlife conflict is increasing due to increased encroachment by human populations into natural habitats. The hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious) is often involved in human-wildlife conflict in Africa. This conflict is a major threat to hippos, which are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has a relatively small number of hippos – estimated at 300 individuals. I investigated the perceptions and attitudes of local people toward a resident population of hippopotami in the Kiri Dam reservoir on the Gongola River in northeastern Nigeria. I used semi-structured interviews (n = 3) with government officials and key informants and questionnaires (n = 69) with residents in two villages (Kiri and Baban Daba). I found that very few respondents (7%) saw benefits to the presence of hippos in the area, while nearly all respondents said hippos cause problems, such as damaging crops, disrupting fishing, and threatening lives. Chi-square tests and logistic-regression analysis showed that respondents who did not favor the protection of hippos or prefer their presence in the area were likely to be residents who had farms along the river, particularly maize farms. Although most people have negative opinions of hippos, local residents do not actively hunt hippos, and most residents are aware of laws against killing hippos. Future research should concentrate on hippo crop-raiding behavior in relation to crop location and crop type. In addition, conservation efforts may benefit from this research, as well as awareness campaigns about living near hippos, small-scale ecotourism, and fencing to protect people.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CERTIFICATION ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ii
READERS’ APPROVAL ……………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
DEDICATION……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS …………………………………………………………………………………….. v
ABSTRACT ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. vii
LIST OF TABLES ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. x
LIST OF FIGURES ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. xi
INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
HYPOTHESES, AIMS, & OBJECTIVES ……………………………………………………………. 9
CHAPTER 2 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10
METHODS …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
Study Site ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Data Collection & Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
Ethical Guidelines ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 14
CHAPTER 3 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
RESULTS …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Respondent Characteristics ………………………………………………………………………………….. 15
Knowledge about Hippos ……………………………………………………………………………………… 16
Advantages & Disadvantages of Hippos ………………………………………………………………… 16
Protection & Conservation of Hippos ……………………………………………………………………. 17
CHAPTER 4 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
CHAPTER 5 …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23
CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
APPENDIX I ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
APPENDIX II ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
APPENDIX III ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
APPENDIX IV ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 31
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 32

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
Because interactions between humans and wildlife have played a role in the evolution of humankind, conflicts between humans and wild animals have been in existence since they have shared resources and landscape (Lamarque et al., 2009). Ancient humans were hunter-gatherers, and they relied on nature such as plants and animals surrounding them. Humans and wild animals interacted in various ways; for example, wildlife was a major source of food (protein) for human populations. The interests of humans and those of wildlife often clash, however, resulting in negative interactions. Such interactions between humans and wildlife are often referred to as human-wildlife conflict.
Human-wildlife conflict results from competition between human and wildlife populations over space or resources (Lamarque et al., 2009), such as when the requirements of human populations overlap with the requirements of wildlife populations (IUCN, 2005). Although the word “conflict” has various meanings, the way “conflict” is defined and understood determines the nature of human-wildlife conflict. Human-wildlife conflict often reflects a struggle between two or more parties or groups over some perceived wanted factors, resulting from differences in actions of the parties involved (Onuoha, 2008). An example of such is the struggle over crops between elephants (Loxodonta africana) and farmers (De Boer & Baquete, 1998; Geoffrey, 2015; Granados & Weladji, 2012; Naughton, Rose, & Treves, 1999; Nyhus & Tilson, 2004; Vidya & Thuppil, 2010; Warner, 2008), when elephants raid farms and damage or destroy crops cultivated by farmers.
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The major forces driving human-wildlife conflict differ from one location to another, but when studied as a whole, these forces can be classified into two categories: 1) factors attributed to human population growth and human activities, and 2) factors related to an increase in wildlife abundance. Human population growth is at the core of most environmental problems, as well as a major cause of negative human-wildlife interactions. This is particularly so in Africa, which has the fastest population growth in the world; more than half of the world population growth between now and 2050 is expected to come from Africa (UN, 2015). One African nation, Nigeria, is the 7th most populous country in the world, and it is expected to be the third largest country in the world by 2050 (UN, 2015).
Human population growth results in the conversion of forests, savannas, and other ecosystems into agricultural sites and urban cluster (Distefano, 2005). Wildlife is thus affected by habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. Animal populations grow only when there are resources to sustain them; human populations are not an exception to this rule. The increasing human demand for meat is one reason for a global increase in domestic livestock populations. This growth may lead to competitive exclusion of wild herbivores. Increasing human population growth in Africa has led to human encroachment into wildlife habitats, restricting species into smaller and fewer habitat patches and fueling competition with local communities (Distefano, 2005). This means that wildlife more often comes into contact with humans, and this leads to increased conflict.
Conflict between human and wildlife come in different forms. The most common forms attacks on humans, crop raiding, and property destruction by wildlife
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(Lamarque et al., 2009). Negative human-wildlife interactions have impacts and consequences. Crop destruction, where wild animals consume, trample, or otherwise damage crops, is the most prevalent problem posed by human-wildlife interaction across Africa (Lamarque et al., 2009). One of the major impacts of crop raiding is that it threatens local people’s source of food for both subsistence and commercial needs (Quirin & Dixon, 2012).
In Rwanda, forest-dwelling primates, especially the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and Cercopithecus monkeys, caused an average 10-20% loss in household income as a result of crop raiding (McGuinness & Taylor, 2014). In a study carried out in four villages in Uganda, 11 species of large vertebrate damaged 6.1 km2 over three farming seasons (Webber & Hill, 2014). The elephant and common hippopotamous (Hippopotamus amphibious) are the most destructive crop raiders in Africa. They particularly affect the livelihoods of subsistence African farmers because they cause significant damage (Lamarque et al., 2009). Farmers find it difficult to deal with raiding by elephants and hippos because these animals are large; aggressive; and, in the case of hippos, nocturnal. They cause highly visible damage, and governments provide little or no compensations in most cases (Lamarque et al., 2009). Even though reports of crop raiding by elephants and hippos are common, the damage caused by smaller mammals, such as baboons (Papio spp.), bush pig (Potamochoerus porcus), and monkeys (Cercopithecus spp.), may be even greater. Compared to hippos, for instance, these species are less conspicuous, and thus reports of raiding by these smaller mammals might be underreported (Dunham, Ghiurghi, Cumbi,