Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Wildlife and Fisheries Biology

Advisor

Bowerman, William W.

Committee Member

Bridges , William C.

Committee Member

Baldwin , Elizabeth D.

Abstract

The vulture population is declining globally, a situation that is more acute in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya where studies report over 60% decline in the last few years, resulting primarily from loss of habitat and poisoning by the Maasai pastoralist. This rate of decline is devastating and will result in the extinction of vultures in the region. Given that the causes of the decline are as a result of detrimental human activities, it is important to understand the Maasai attitude and perception toward vultures, particularly factors that determine their behavior to favor or oppose vulture conservation. In this study which was conducted in two group ranches, Siana and Koyiaki in Maasai Mara region, we used a survey instrument involving closed-ended statements, open-ended interview questions and observation to address our objectives, which included understanding the attitudes and perceptions of the Maasai toward vultures, the importance attributed to vultures, their knowledge of vulture ecology and their management proposals to address this situation. The results suggest that the Maasai favor vulture conservation. However, their activities are detrimental to vulture conservation, due to their poor attitudes toward carnivores, local wildlife authorities, and conservancies in the area, which result in poisoning, leasing land for wheat farming and opposing the creation of new conservancies.

Share

COinS