Towards understanding tolerance to damage causing mammalian wildlife

Kansky, Ruth (2015-03)

Thesis (PhDConsEcol)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is increasing globally and has been recognized as a major priority by most conservation organizations. This is due to the impacts that both wildlife and stakeholders can have on each other leading to a loss of support for conservation in general. Understanding the drivers of these impacts is therefore critical to mitigating the impacts. While the main focus of research in HWC has been finding technological solutions to mitigating the tangible impacts of wildlife for humans so as to increase tolerance of stakeholders towards wildlife, recent findings have pointed to the fact that this approach may be an oversimplification of the problem. A number of qualitative reviews and theoretical models have therefore emerged proposing a wide range of factors that may be important and emphasize the more complex nature of HWC. These models however are not based on quantitative synthesis of the research on this topic and there are no widely accepted models being used. Therefore a primary aim of this project was to develop a tolerance to wildlife damage model that was based on a quantitative synthesis of the body of research that has investigated attitudes to damage causing mammalian wildlife. A second aim was to test the emergent model using a case study of urban baboon–human conflict on the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. Key findings from the meta-analyses were that contrary to conventional wisdom, damage is not always the most important driver of tolerance as it interacted with taxonomic group and stakeholder type in complex ways. For example, tolerance of ungulates and primates was proportional to the probability of experiencing damage while elephants elicited tolerance levels higher than anticipated and carnivores elicited tolerance levels lower than anticipated. A second meta-analysis aimed to determine if common patterns of variables explaining tolerant attitudes were present across a wide range of species, stakeholders and contexts. Results showed that the majority of publications measured variables with a low likelihood of explaining drivers of attitudes or did not quantify variables of generally high utility. A synthesis of the most important factors emerging from these meta-analyses together with additional constructs and theories from other disciplines relevant for addressing the complexity inherent in HWC was undertaken and the Wildlife Tolerance Model (WTM) proposed. The WTM hypothesizes that the net outcome of the extent to which a person is exposed to a species as well as the types of meaningful events (positive or negative) determine perceptions of the costs relative to benefits of living with a species. This in turn determines tolerance. A second component predicts 11 inner model variables that may further drive perceptions of costs and benefits. Results from the case study showed support for the WTM where both outer and inner model variables were found to be important drivers of tolerance. A key conclusion is that although synthesis of research and theory development is time consuming and costly, theory development and testing is critical to achieve long term efficiency in conservation management because failure to target interventions at the most important drivers will be costly, both financially and in biodiversity loss.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Mens en wild konflik (MWK) is wêreldwyd aan die toeneem en word deur meeste bewaringorganisasies as ‘n prioriteit gesien. Dit is te wyte aan die impakte wat beide wild en belanghebbendes op mekaar kan hê, wat op sy beurt kan lei tot ‘n algehele vermindering in die ondersteuning ten gunste van bewaring. Dit is dus kardinaal om die drywers van sulke impakte te verstaan om sodoende die vermindering van hierdie impakte te bewerkstellig. Studies wat MWK in die verlede bestudeer het, was veral gefokus daarop om tegnologiese oplossings te vind om die tasbare impak van wild op mense te verlig en sodoende, die verdraagsaamheid van mense teenoor hierdié wild te verhoog. Onlangse navorsing dui egter daarop dat hierdie benadering moontlik die probleem eenvoudiger laat lyk as wat dit werklik is. Dit het gelei tot die ontwikkeling van verskeie kwalitatiewe oorsigte asook teoretiese modelle wat ‘n verskeidenheid faktore uitlig en gevolglik die komplekse aard van MWK beklemtoon. Hierdie teoretiese modelle is egter nie gebasseer op die kwantitatiewe sintese van hierdie onderwerp nie en daar is ook geen algeheel aanvaarde modelle om te gebruik nie. ‘n Primêre doel van hierdie studie was dus die ontwikkeling van ‘n model wat die toleransie teen die skade wat wilde soogdiere aanrig, aandui. Hierdié model is gebasseer op ‘n kwantitatiewe sintese van die beskikbare literatuur wat die houdings van mense teenoor wild, wat skade veroorsaak, ondersoek het. ‘n Tweede doel van die studie was die toetsing van hierdie opkomende model. Dit is gedoen deur gebruik te maak van ‘n gevallestudie wat handel oor die konflik tussen mens en bobbejaan in die Kaapse Skiereiland van Suid-Afrika. Belangrike bevindinge van die meta-analise is dat, in teenstelling met konvensionele wysheid, is skade nie altyd die belangrikste drywer van verdraagsaamheid nie, aangesien dit met beide die taksonomiese groep asook die tipe belanghebbendes, in komplekse interaksie verkeer. Die verdraagsaamheid van mense teenoor hoefdiere en primate was, byvoorbeeld, eweredig gewees aan die waarskynlikheid dat hulle skade sou ervaar, terwyl olifante ‘n hoër vlak- en karnivore ‘n laer vlak van verdraagsaamheid ontlok het, as wat verwag sou word. ‘n Tweede meta-analise het ondersoek of daar gemeenskaplike patrone teenwoordig is wat mense se houdings van verdraagsaamheid oor ‘n wye verskeidenheid van spesies, belanghebbendes en konteks kon verduidelik. Resultate het getoon dat die meerderheid publikasies veranderlikes gemeet het met ‘n lae waarskynlikheid om die drywers van houdings te verduidelik – of veranderlikes is gekwantifiseer wat nie algemeen nuttig was nie. ‘n Sintese van die belangrikste faktore wat deur middel van die meta-analise geïdentifiseer is, asook bykomende konstrukte en teorieë vanuit ander dissiplines (relevant tot die aanspreek van die inherente kompleksiteit van MWK) is onderneem en daardeur is die Wilde diere Verdraagsaamheid Model (WVM) voorgestel. Die WVM hipotiseer dat die netto uitkoms van die mate waarin ‘n persoon blootgestel is aan ‘n spesie, asook die tipes betekenisvolle gebeure (positief of negatief) bepaal die persepsies van ‘n persoon ten opsigte van die nadele relatief tot die voordele, wat geassosieer kan word deur met ‘n spesie in samesyn te lewe. Bogenoemde bepaal dan die algehele evaluering van saamleef met spesies en uiteindelik ook verdraagsaamheid. ‘n Tweede komponent van hierdie model voorspel 11 innerlike model veranderlikes wat persepsies van voor- en nadele verder kan dryf. Resultate van die gevallestudie het ter ondersteuning van die WVM model beide innerlike en uiterlike veranderlikes getoon, waar albei veranderlikes belangrike drywers van verdraagsaamheid was. ‘n Belangrike bevinding is dat, alhoewel navorsingsinteses en teorie-ontwikkeling tydrowend en duur is, is teorie-ontwikkeling en toetsing van kritieke belang om langtermyn doeltreffendheid in bewaringsbesuur te verseker, want as ingrypings wat fokus op die belangrikste drywers misluk, gaan dit nie net duur wees nie maar ook ‘n verlies aan biodiversiteit tot gevolg hê.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96592
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