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People and protected areas: a study of local perceptions of wildlife crop-damage conflict in an area bordering the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

  • Sarah Gillingham and Phyllis C. Lee (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2003

This paper presents an analysis of perceived patterns of wildlife crop-damage in relation to an on-farm assessment of damage in an area bordering the Selous Game Reserve (SGR) in south-eastern Tanzania. Data from an attitudinal questionnaire survey of 202 households in four villages are used to examine local perceptions of wildlife crop-damage in terms of relative impact and which wildlife species were responsible. We explore the influence of wildlife crop-damage on attitudes to the adjacent game reserve. Data on the frequency of crop-damage events and estimated severity of impacts, recorded during a 6-month programme of crop-damage monitoring in one of the survey villages, are used to describe on-farm patterns of crop-damage. Comparison of the two data sets indicates a disjunction between the nature of the wildlife crop-damage conflict as perceived by local villagers, and as it actually occurs in the study area. This disjunction is discussed in relation to the effect of extreme damage events on local people's views, the opportunity costs involved in guarding farm plots against crop-damage, and the tenure arrangements for wildlife that define the relationship with the state wildlife management authority.

Corresponding author
Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Downing St, Cambridge, UK. E-mail:
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  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
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