Reciprocal impacts of black rhino and community-based ecotourism in North-West Namibia

Beytell, Petrus Cecil (2010-12)

Thesis (MA (Geography and Environmental Studies)--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research focuses on the black rhinoceros and ecotourism in three conservation areas in the Kunene region of Namibia. The reciprocal impact between black rhino and community-based ecotourism is analysed. The research is located in two communal conservancies, #Khoadi-//Hôas and Torra, and in a photographic tourism concession, the Palmwag Concession Area. The research aims to explore and describe the reciprocal impact of community-based ecotourism efforts and black rhino spatial movement patterns in three conservation areas in north-west Namibia. An in-depth literature review was undertaken on the reciprocal impact between rhino-tracking tourism and conservation. A comparison was also made between the effects of human-induced disturbance on spatial movement patterns of black rhinos and the perception of tourists about tracking black rhinos. The value of black rhinos to community-based ecotourism was also determined. Quantitative research methodology was used for this study. Explorations of objectives were conducted through direct field observation with the aid of radio-telemetry tracking and aerial surveying for data gathering. The researcher employed SRT (Save the Rhino Trust) trackers in the study areas to assist with the tracking. The sample consisted of 24 transmitter-fitted black rhino in the three conservation areas. Rhino not fitted with transmitters have been included in the sample for more accurate results. Four hundred questionnaires were distributed at four tourist lodges in the study area. The hypothesis that sustainable ecotourism does not influence black rhino spatial behaviour was rejected. Rhinos in the study were easily disturbed and did not readily return to undisturbed behaviour. Their major response to disturbance was to run away. The disturbance was influenced by their initial activity when found. The highest disturbance occurred early in observations. Rhinos illustrated similar causes of disturbance throughout the study sites. The Springbok River emerged as the area with the most severe reactions to disturbance. This was supported by home range data and ecological constraints. Analysis of tourist responses regarding rhino tracking indicated a high demand for and level of satisfaction. This was the single determining factor for tourists to return to the Kunene region to do rhino tracking again. Tourists were willing to pay close to market price to track black rhino. It is recommended that tracking of black rhino should be avoided in the Springbok River and Aub/Barab areas. Tracking protocols should stipulate that tracking should only be conducted early in the morning; that rhinos may only be approached from downwind; that observation time may not exceed 15 minutes; that groups must be kept small; and that the approach distance may not be less than 100 metres.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fokus van die navorsing is op swart renosters en ekotoerisme in drie bewaringsgebiede in die Kunene streek van Namibia. Die wedersydse wisselwerking tussen swart renosters en gemeenskaps-gebaseerde ekotoerisme is nagevors. Die navorsing het plaasgevind in twee kommunale bewaringsgebiede, #Khoadi-//Hôas en Torra asook ‘n konsessie vir fotografie in die Palmwag Konsessie Gebied. Die doel van die navorsing was om die wedersydse wisselwerking van gemeenskapsgebaseerde ekotoerisme en swart renosters se geografiese bewegingspatrone in drie bewaringsareas in noordwes Namibië te ondersoek en te omskryf. ‘n Deeglike literatuurstudie is gedoen ten opsigte van die wedersydse wisselwerking tussen toerisme met die doel om renosters waar te neem deur spoorsny en bewaring van die spesies. Die uitwerking van versteuring deur mense op die geografiese bewegingspatrone van swart renosters is vergelyk met die persepsie van toeriste ten opsigte van spoorsny van swart renosters. Die waarde van swart renosters ten opsigte van ekotoerisme is ook bepaal. Kwantitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie is gebruik in die studie. Die doelstelling van die navorsing is uitgevoer deur direkte veld waarnemings met behulp van radio-telemetriese opsporing en data insameling met behulp van lugsensusse. Die navorser het spoorsnyers van SRT (Save the Rhino Trust), wat in die studiegebied werk, in diens geneem om van hulp te wees met die spoorsny van renosters. Die steekproef het bestaan uit 24 swart renosters toegerus met seintoestelle in drie bewaringsgebiede. Renosters wat nie seintoestelle gehad het nie, is ook in die steekproef ingesluit ten einde beter dekking te verkry. Vierhonderd vraelyste is by vier toeristeoorde in die studiegebied versprei. Die hipotese dat volhoubare ekotoerisme nie ‘n invloed uitoefen op die geografiese gedrag van swart renosters nie, is verwerp. Renosters in die studie-gebied is maklik versteur en het nie geredelik teruggekeer tot onversteurde gedrag nie. Hulle reaksie op versteuring was gekenmerk deur weg te hardloop. Die mate van versteuring is bepaal deur die renosters se aanvanklike aktiwiteit by opsporing. Die meeste versteuring het gedurende vroeë waarneming plaasgevind. Dieselfde oorsake van versteuring is in al drie gebiede gevind. Die Springbokrivier was die gebied waar die sterkste reaksies ten opsigte van versteuring bespeur is. Dit word ondersteun deur die grootte van die loopgebiede van die renosters en ekologiese beperkings van die gebied. Data-analise van toeriste-vraelyste het aangetoon dat daar ‘n groot aanvraag en belangstelling is in die spoorsny van renosters. Die grootste bepalende faktor vir toeriste om na die Kunene streek terug te keer, is om renosters te sien deur middel van spoorsny. Toeriste is gewillig om die heersende markprys vir spoorsny van renosters te betaal. Navorsingsaanbevelings sluit in dat spoorsny van swart renosters in die Springbokrivier en Aub/Barab gebiede vermy word. Spoorsny-protokol moet stipuleer dat dit net in die vroeë oggend gedoen word, dat renosters slegs van onderkant die wind genader word, waarnemingstyd mag nie 15 minute oorskry nie, groepe moet klein wees en die afstand vanaf die diere mag nie nader as 100 meter wees nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5148
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