Environmental Management

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 117–129 | Cite as

Mobile Phone Use and Human–Wildlife Conflict in Northern Tanzania

  • Ashley L. Lewis
  • Timothy D. BairdEmail author
  • Michael G. Sorice


Throughout the developing world, mobile phones are spreading rapidly into rural areas where subsistence livelihoods, biodiversity conservation, and human–wildlife conflict (HWC) are each common. Despite this trend, little is known about the relationship between mobile phones and HWC in conservation landscapes. This paper examines this relationship within ethnically Maasai communities in northern Tanzania on the border of Tarangire National Park. Mixed qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis are used to (1) describe how Maasai agro-pastoralists use phones to manage human–wildlife interactions; and (2) assess the relationship between phone use and measures of HWC, controlling for other factors. The findings indicate that households use phones to reduce the number and severity of HWC events and that the relationship between phones and HWC varies according to the type of HWC.


Human–wildlife conflict Mobile phones Conservation Maasai Tanzania 



Data collection for this study was supported by a grant to the second author from the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration (#9293-13) and grants to the first author from the Department of Geography and the Graduate School at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Chapter AU of the P.E.O. We thank Gabriel Ole Saitoti and Isaya Rumas for their dutiful assistance in the field and Terry McCabe, Joel Hartter and Emily Woodhouse for their counsel. Lastly, we thank Luke Juran for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forest Resources and Environmental ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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