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Effects of Private‐Land Use, Livestock Management, and Human Tolerance on Diversity, Distribution, and Abundance of Large African Mammals

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Abstract

Successful conservation of large terrestrial mammals (wildlife) on private lands requires that landowners be empowered to manage wildlife so that benefits outweigh the costs. Laikipia County, Kenya, is predominantly unfenced, and the land uses in the area allow wide‐ranging wildlife to move freely between different management systems on private land. We used camera traps to sample large mammals associated with 4 different management systems (rhinoceros sanctuaries, no livestock; conservancies, intermediate stocking level; fenced ranches, high stocking level; and group ranches, high stocking level, no fencing, pastoralist clan ownership) to examine whether management and stocking levels affect wildlife. We deployed cameras at 522 locations across 8 properties from January 2008 through October 2010 and used the photographs taken during this period to estimate richness, occupancy, and relative abundance of species. Species richness was highest in conservancies and sanctuaries and lowest on fenced and group ranches. Occupancy estimates were, on average, 2 and 5 times higher in sanctuaries and conservancies as on fenced and group ranches, respectively. Nineteen species on fenced ranches and 25 species on group ranches were considered uncommon (occupancy < 0.1). The relative abundance of most species was highest or second highest in sanctuaries and conservancies. Lack of rights to manage and utilize wildlife and uncertain land tenure dampen many owners’ incentives to tolerate wildlife. We suggest national conservation strategies consider landscape‐level approaches to land‐use planning that aim to increase conserved areas by providing landowners with incentives to tolerate wildlife. Possible incentives include improving access to ecotourism benefits, forging agreements to maintain wildlife habitat and corridors, resolving land‐ownership conflicts, restoring degraded rangelands, expanding opportunities for grazing leases, and allowing direct benefits to landowners through wildlife harvesting.

Efectos del Uso Privado de Suelo, Manejo de Ganado y la Tolerancia Humana sobre la Diversidad, Distribución y Abundancia de Mamíferos Mayores Africanos
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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