Around Kibale National Park, Uganda, the primary source of human-wildlife conflict is crop raiding – when wild animals destroy the crops in agricultural fields causing subsistence farmers to suffer extreme losses. Crop raiding species risk death or injury either by farmers who are protecting their food supply or later during retaliatory events, and the local community has a negative impression of wildlife conservation because of the hardships they endure from crop raiding. Our project aims to promote wildlife conservation in Kibale National Park by designing a community-based anti-crop raiding project that will help solve this conflict.
During our pilot study, community members identified crop raiding as the top reason for negative views of the park. When asked for suggestions for how to improve the situation, they said that all of the animals in the park should be killed and/or the park should be destroyed. Community members feel that crop raiding is exposing them to diseases, destroying their food and livelihoods, and preventing children from going to school and adults from going to work because of the time invested in guarding the gardens. Relieving this tension will improve human-wildlife interactions and promote conservation.
Kibale National Park is rich in biodiversity with 13 species of primates (including chimpanzees), a variety of large mammals (including elephants), birds, reptiles, and insects. Our project aims to promote wildlife conservation in Kibale National Park by designing a community-based anti-crop raiding project. We have identified four methods for reducing crop raiding -- extending the trench that currently runs along portions of the park, planting buffer crops, keeping bee boxes, and growing garlic. The next phase of our project will include implementing these new agricultural practices. Through collaborations with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, we plan to improve the trenches surrounding the park and implement a buffer crop program. We will also strategically place bee boxes in areas where concern of chimpanzee crop raiding is low, and we will distribute and implement programs for selling garlic as a cash crop.