Culture, conflict and cuisine : a quantitative assessment of terrestrial vertebrate off-take at the human-wildlife interface

Nieman, Wian Adriaan (2018-11)

Thesis (MScConsEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Three major forms of hunting are believed to be on the increase in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, posing independently and synergistically some of the greatest threats to the continued survival of local wildlife. Firstly, there is growing evidence of the presence and reliance of local communities on bushmeat harvesting by means of wire-snare poaching, potentially implying severe reductions or extirpations of target species, high rates of non-target off-take, and the loss of entire communities. Secondly, human-wildlife conflict poses a threat to the livelihoods and agricultural security of many stakeholders living at the interface of human development and natural habitat in the Boland, resulting in the vast eradication of damage-causing animals (DCA’s). Finally, the use of animals and animal-derived materials in traditional medicine constitutes an important part of the belief-systems of indigenous African cultures, and is believed to be rapidly expanding. Due to the severity of the consequences reported elsewhere globally, and the general lack of local information with which to quantify the extent and impact of these hunting practices locally, structured interviews were conducted with farmers (n = 103) and labourers (n = 307) on private agricultural properties bordering protected areas (PA’s). In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with traditional healers (n = 36) operating from impoverished, rural communities near PA’s. Our reliance on the knowledge and experiences of local people elucidated several dynamic and interwoven social, economic and ecological factors underlying wildlife off-take, and subsequently allowed for the quantification, documentation and mapping of vertebrate off-take at the human-wildlife interface. Wire-snare poaching incidence and behaviour was strongly influenced by economic factors relating to poverty, a lack of governing regulations and punitive measures, interpersonal development, and abiotic factors such as proximity to major residential areas, roadways and PA’s. Results showed that local, male farmers managing large commercial properties affiliated with regional conservancies were most likely to rely on the lethal control of DCA’s. The highest level of tolerance by farmers was shown for primates and ungulates, while tolerance for carnivores, avifauna and invasive or feral species was comparatively lower. The spatial location of observed and expected zones of species-specific risk on a regional level was also mapped using a maximum entropy algorithm. We recorded 26 broad use-categories for 12 types of animal parts or products from 71 species used in traditional medicine. The most commonly sold items were skin pieces, oil or fat, and bones. To conclude, we conducted a synergistic assessment of species’ vulnerability to the combined impacts of the above-mentioned hunting practices, and subsequently found that leopard, grey duiker, chacma baboon, caracal, Cape porcupine, aardvark, genet spp., and cape clawless otters experience the highest potential endangerment. This study provided the first demonstration of the multifaceted and complex nature of hunting practices in the Boland Region, opening a dialogue between local communities and conservation agencies. The primary goals being to broaden our understanding of the heterogeneity in local-scale socio-ecological dynamics, to apply policies for effective management and eradication, to prioritize areas and species for intervention, to provide for more accurate allocation of conservation resources, and to provide grounds for future research in the area and elsewhere.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die provinsie Wes-Kaap in Suid-Afrika is daar tans drie dominante jagpraktyke aan die toeneem, en gevolglik bied hul selfstandig en sinergisties sommige van die grootste bedreigings vir die voortgesette bestaan van plaaslike natuurlewe. Eerstens is daar toenemende bewyse van die teenwoordigheid en afhanklikheid van plaaslike gemeenskappe op die jag van bosvleis met behulp van strikdraad-stropery, wat moontlik kan lei tot drastiese afnames of uitwissings van teikenspesies, groot volumes nie-teiken afname, en die verlies van hele gemeenskappe. Tweedens, die voorkoms van konflik tussen mens en natuur vorm ‘n bedreiging vir die lewensbestaan en landboubeveiliging van talle belanghebbendes woonagtig by die koppelvlak tussen menslike ontwikkeling en natuurlike habitat in die Bolandstreek, met die gevolg dat skade-veroorsakende diere (SVD’e) uitgeroei word. Laastens, die gebruik van diere en dier-afgeleide materiale in traditionele medisyne vorm ‘n belangrike komponent van die geloofstelsels van inheemse Afrika-kulture, en daar word vermoed dat die praktyk vinnig toeneem. Weens die erns van die gevolge wat elders wêreldwyd gerapporteer word, en die algemene gebrek aan inligting om die omvang van hierdie jagpraktyke plaaslik te kwantifiseer, het ons gestruktureerde onderhoude met boere (n = 103) en arbeiders (n = 307) gevoer op privaatbesit-landboueiendomme aangrensend aan beskermde gebiede (BG’e). Daarbenewens het ons semi gestruktureerde onderhoude gevoer met traditionele genesers (n = 36) wat in arm, landelike gemeenskappe naby BG’e praktiseer. Ons vertroue op die kennis en ondervindings van plaaslike mense het verskeie dinamiese en verweefde sosiale, ekonomiese en ekologiese faktore onderliggend aan wild-afname uitgelig, en gevolglik die kwantifisering, dokumentasie en kartering van werweldier-afname by die mens-wild-koppelvlak moontlik gemaak. Die voorkoms van, en gedrag gebonde aan strik-stropery was sterk beïnvloed deur ekonomiese faktore wat verband hou met armoede, ‘n gebrek aan beheerregulasies en stafmaatreëls, interpersoonlike ontwikkeling, en abiotiese faktore soos die afstand tot groot residensiële gebiede, paaie en BG’e. Ons het gevind dat plaaslike, manlike boere in beheer van groot kommersiële eiendomme wat met bewaringsinisiatiewe op streek-vlak geassosieer is meer geneig was om letale-beheer van SVD’e uit te oefen. Verdraagsaamheid-vlakke getoon deur boere was die hoogste vir primate en hoefdiere, terwyl verdraagsaamheidvlakke vir karnivore, voëls en indringer- of rondloperspesies relatief laer was. Die ruimtelike ligging van waargenome en verwagte sones van spesie-spesifieke risiko op streeksvlak is ook gekarteer met behulp van ‘n maksimum entropie algoritme. Ons het 26 gebruikskategorieë aangeteken vir 15 soorte dierlike dele of produkte van 71 werweldier-spesies wat in tradisionele medisyne gebruik word. Die mees algemene markitems was velstukke, olies of vette, en bene. Ter afsluiting het ons ‘n sinergistiese assessering van die kwesbaarheid van spesies vir die gekombineerde impak van bogenoemde jakpraktykte uitgevoer, en gevolglik gevind dat luiperd, grysduiker, Kaapse bobbejaan, rooikat, ystervark, aardvark, muskeljaatkat spp., en groototters die hoogste potensiële bedreiging ondervind. Hierdie studie het die eerste demonstrasie gebied van die veelsydige en komplekse aard van jagpraktyke in die Bolandstreek, en gevolglik ‘n gesprek geopen tussen plaaslike gemeenskappe en bewaringsorganisasies. Die primêre doelwitte was dus om ons begrip van die heterogeniteit in plaaslike sosio-ekologiese dinamika te verbreed, om beleide toe te pas vir effektiewe bestuur en uitroeiing, om areas en spesies te prioritiseer vir intervensie, om voorsiening te maak vir die meer akkurate bedeling van bewaringshulpbronne, en om ‘n platform te skep vir toekomstige navorsing in die streek en elders.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105191
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