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- Quantifying impacts of anthropogenic disturbances on wildlife
- Mudumba, Tutilo
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
In this dissertation, I examined the interconnectedness of human population growth, energy development, human-wildlife coexistence, and wildlife population ecology. In Chapter One, I reviewed the literature and categorized the effects of oil extraction on wildlife. Broadly, the effects included: i) increased poaching, ii) curtailed space-use, iii) increased harassment, iv) risk of introduction of invasive species, v) contamination, and vi) heightened the severity of impacts due to synergistic...
Show moreIn this dissertation, I examined the interconnectedness of human population growth, energy development, human-wildlife coexistence, and wildlife population ecology. In Chapter One, I reviewed the literature and categorized the effects of oil extraction on wildlife. Broadly, the effects included: i) increased poaching, ii) curtailed space-use, iii) increased harassment, iv) risk of introduction of invasive species, v) contamination, and vi) heightened the severity of impacts due to synergistic effects. Overall, I found that efforts to evaluate the consequences of oil extraction, particularly in peer-reviewed form, were limited. Research should be conducted pre-, during, and post-oil extraction to increase knowledge of the effects of oil extraction on wildlife to enable more effective policy decisions.In Chapter Two, I studied human-wildlife co-existence and found that conflict was the most important factor determining local people's attitude towards poaching. Less than 20% of the local people had ever visited the park and there was limited flow of benefits for local communities from protected areas. My findings highlight the importance of providing remedies compatible with local livelihoods and could be used to improve wildlife management to address poaching.In Chapter Three, I predicted the African lion (Panthera leo) carrying capacity in Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) from existing primary prey biomass. I found that the extant African lion density was four times less than what the prey biomass inside the park could support. I compared the African lion density estimated from prey biomass to that estimated from direct counts and found that estimating lion density from indirect methods such as prey biomass can result in the overestimation of existent populations.In Chapter Four, I described an approach for estimating the density, configuration, and lethality of poacher-set snares and discussed their effects on wildlife inside MFNP. Murchison Falls National Park had the highest known density of wire snares in the world. I provide a litany of anthropogenic and environmental configurations that made snares more likely to catch an animal. The ability of snares to trap an animal were significantly predicted by snare thickness, noose width, vertical drop, wire circumference, grass height, and anchor tree diameter at breast height. Regulating the disposal of dis-used vehicle tires which provided the material for the wire snares was likely to reduce snare poaching inside the park. Additionally, providing alternative livelihoods to people involved in snare poaching would discourage the recruitment of locals in snare poaching. My method of surveying snares provides the opportunity to standardize temporal and spatial measurements of snare density and configuration as a first step to refine mitigation techniques.I conclude my dissertation with a summary of my key findings and recommendations for future research. The results of my research are applicable to biodiverse-rich portions of the world that are at risk of human development. My methods could also be used to quantify the severity of subsistence poaching. This is relevant because subsistence poaching remains a significant conservation challenge in the 21st century.