The nature of hunting around the Western Corridor of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
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In many parts of Africa, illegal hunting is considered the most pressing issue in protected areas. Poaching has remained a persistent problem through the 50 year long history of Serengeti National Park. Around 2 million people live along the borders of the park. Poverty is widespread, and the population is increasing rapidly. In this paper we examine the local perceptions of importance and reasons for hunting, gender differences and opinions about mitigating measures among villagers around Serengeti’s Western Corridor. The data were collected through interviewing 590 persons in eight villages close to the borders of the park. Hunting is driven by the need to not only increase food supply and cash income, but also fulfil cultural and social needs. We also identified a proactive attitude in the rural communities towards reducing illegal hunting and more constructive relationships with the management authorities of the national park. The role of hunting in community life extends beyond the immediate poverty issue, and should be seen as an element in the larger development agenda of rural Tanzania and the quest for models for sustainable wildlife management.