Management of Wildlife as a Fugitive Natural Resource: A Case of Wildlife Conservation in a Savanna Ecosystem in Africa

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"The objective of this paper is to consider the applicability of the two recently (re)defined community-based approaches to wildlife conservation in savanna ecosystems with consideration of the historical perspectives and the fugitiveness of wildlife. The first approach is a pluralistic and deliberative one, which regards biodiversity as a complex adaptive system and its conservation is a multi-level and manifold problem. The second model is neo-liberal CBNRM asserting that economic value is an important motive for people to involve themselves in conservation and its guarantee at the local level is the best way. Maasai people in southern Kenya lived side-by-side with wildlife. After the colonisation of Kenya, suzerain and state-led conservation was introduced. The local people resisted the establishment of a national park and also the development and conservation plan devised by community-friendly outsiders for fear of the hidden agenda and betrayal. The experience of the Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary taught the local people the economic value of wildlife, and the local landowners assent to the establishment of conservancies. While their understanding of conservation differs from that of outsiders, benefits dominated the discourse in the local meetings among stakeholders. The applicability of the neo-liberal model to the savanna ecosystem is questionable because wildlife habitat is too broad compared to local political, social, and economic units to form a single collective management body, and the approach overlooks situations in which local people lack sufficient “capabilities” to generate profits from wildlife. The pluralistic approach emphasises the importance of deliberation, but the local communication processes are never interactive because the outsiders overlook the fact that fugitiveness turns into destructiveness. Deliberation is necessary, but in order to exchange views and discuss values, necessary steps are to lend an ear to local people’s grievances born of serious human-wildlife conflicts, and empathise with and embody in oneself them."
wildlife, CBRM, conservation, savannas, ecosystems