Mobile Phone Use and Human–Wildlife Conflict in Northern Tanzania

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Aker J, Mbiti I (2010) Mobile phones and economic development in Africa. Center for Global Development Working Paper 211

  2. Angeles G, Guilkey DK, Mroz TA (2005) The impact of community-level variables on individual-level outcomes. Sociol Methods Res 34(1):76–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ansell S, Koenig J (2011) CyberTracker: an integral management tool used by rangers in the Djelk indigenous protected area, central arnhem land, Australia. Ecol Manage Restor 12(1):13–25

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Arts K, Wal R, Adams WM (2015) Digital technology and the conservation of nature. Ambio 44(4):661–673

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baird TD (2012) Conservation as disturbance: development, diversification and social networks near Tarangire National Park, Northern Tanzania. Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  6. Baird TD (2014) Conservation and unscripted development: proximity to park associated with development and financial diversity. Ecol Soc 19(1):4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Baird TD (2015) Conservation implications of the diffusion of Christian religious ideals in rural Africa. Popul Environ 36(4):373–399

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Baird TD, Leslie PW (2013) Conservation as disturbance: upheaval and livelihood diversification near Tarangire National Park, northern Tanzania. Glob Environ Change 23(5):1131–1141

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Banks K, Burge R (2004) Mobile phones: an appropriate tool for conservation and development? Fauna and flora international conservation reports. Fauna and Flora International, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  10. Barrett CB, Travis AJ, Dasgupta P (2011) On biodiversity conservation and poverty traps. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(34):13907–13912

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bernard HR (2011) Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Rowman Altamira, New York

    Google Scholar 

  12. Browne-Nuñez C, Jonker SA (2008) Attitudes toward wildlife and conservation across Africa: a review of survey research. Hum Dimens Wildl 13(1):47–70

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Butt B (2014) Herding by mobile phone: technology, social networks and the “transformation” of pastoral herding in East Africa. Human Ecology 43(1):1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Child B (ed) (2004) Parks in transition: biodiversity, rural development and the bottom line. Earthscan, London

    Google Scholar 

  15. Debolini M, Marraccini E, Rizzo D, Galli M, Bonari E (2013) Mapping local spatial knowledge in the assessment of agricultural systems: a case study on the provision of agricultural services. Appl Geogr 42:23–33

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Dickman A (2010) Complexities of conflict: the importance of considering social factors for effectively resolving human–wildlife conflict. Anim Conserv 13(5):458–466

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Dudley J, Mensah-Ntiamoah A, Kpelle D (1992) Forest elephants in a rainforest fragment: preliminary findings from a wildlife conservation project in southern Ghana. Afr J Ecol 30(2):116–126

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Ellis F (2000) Rural livelihoods and diversity in developing countries. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ens E (2012) Monitoring outcomes of environmental service provision in low socio-economic indigenous Australia using innovative CyberTracker Technology. Conserv Soc 10(1):42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Fascione N, Delach A, Smith M (2004) People and predators: from conflict to coexistence. Island Press, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  21. Feldmann V, Zerdick A (2005) E-merging media. Springer, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  22. Furuholt B, Matotay E (2011) The developmental contribution from mobile phones across the agricultural value chain in rural Africa. Electron J Inf Syst Dev Ctries 48(7):1–16

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gillingham S, Lee PC (2003) People and protected areas: a study of local perceptions of wildlife crop-damage conflict in an area bordering the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. Oryx 37(03):316–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Goldman M, Roque De Pinho J, Perry J (2010) Maintaining complex relations with large cats: Maasai and lions in Kenya and Tanzania. Hum Dimens Wildl 15(5):332–346

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Graham MD, Adams WM, Kahiro GN (2012) Mobile phone communication in effective human elephant–conflict management in Laikipia County, Kenya. Oryx 46(01):137–144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hazzah LN (2006) Living among lions (Panthera leo): coexistence or killing? Community attitudes toward conservation initiatives and the motivations behind lion killing in Kenyan Maasailand. Masters of Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  27. Hoekstra J (2014) Networking nature: how technology is transforming conservation. Foreign Aff 93:80

    Google Scholar 

  28. Holmern T, Nyahongo J, Røskaft E (2007) Livestock loss caused by predators outside the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Biol Conserv 135(4):518–526

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Homewood K, Kristjanson P, Trench P (2009) Changing land use, livelihoods and wildlife conservation in Maasailand. In: Homewood K, Kristjanson P, Trench P (eds) Staying Maasai?. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  30. Igoe J, Brockington D (1999) Pastoral land tenure and community conservation: a case study from North-east Tanzania. Pastoral land tenure series. International Institute for Environment and Development, London

    Google Scholar 

  31. ITU (2014) World telecommunication/ICT indicators database. 18th ed

  32. Kahurananga J, Silkiluwasha F (1997) The migration of zebra and wildebeest between Tarangire National Park and Simanjiro Plains, northern Tanzania, in 1972 and recent trends. Afr J Ecol 35(3):179–185

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Kaswamila A, Russell S, McGibbon M (2007) Impacts of wildlife on household food security and income in northeastern Tanzania. Hum Dimens Wildl 12(6):391–404

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Kissui B (2008) Livestock predation by lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and their vulnerability to retaliatory killing in the Maasai steppe, Tanzania. Anim Conserv 11(5):422–432

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kolowski J, Holekamp K (2006) Spatial, temporal, and physical characteristics of livestock depredations by large carnivores along a Kenyan reserve border. Biol Conserv 128(4):529–541

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Lahm S (1994) The impact of elephants and other wildlife on agriculture in Gabon. African Elephant Conservation Coordinating Group/European Community, Libreville

    Google Scholar 

  37. Lamarque F, Anderson J, Fergusson R, Lagrange M, Osei-Owusu Y, Bakker L (2009) Human–wildlife conflict in Africa: causes, consequences and management strategies. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome

    Google Scholar 

  38. Linkie M, Dinata Y, Nofrianto A, Leader-Williams N (2007) Patterns and perceptions of wildlife crop raiding in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra. Anim Conserv 10(1):127–135

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Lynn SJ (2010) Cultivating the Savanna: implications of land use change for Maasai livelihoods and wildlife conservation in East Africa. Ph.D. Dissertation, Colorado State University

  40. Mackenzie CA, Baird TD, Hartter J (2014) Use of single large or several small policies as strategies to manage people–park interactions. Conserv Biol 28(6):1645–1656

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Madden F (2004) Creating coexistence between humans and wildlife: global perspectives on local efforts to address human–wildlife conflict. Hum Dimens Wildl 9(4):247–257

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Maffey G, Homans H, Banks K, Arts K (2015) Digital technology and human development: a charter for nature conservation. Ambio 44(4):527–537

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Manfredo MJ, Dayer AA (2004) Concepts for exploring the social aspects of human–wildlife conflict in a global context. Hum Dimens Wildl 9(4):1–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Martin E (2010) Effective law enforcement in Ghana reduces elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade. Pachyderm 48:24–32

    Google Scholar 

  45. Martin BL, Abbott E (2011) Mobile phones and rural livelihoods: diffusion, uses, and perceived impacts among farmers in rural Uganda. Inf Technol Int Dev 7(4):17–34

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mc Guinness S, Taylor D (2014) Farmers’ perceptions and actions to decrease crop raiding by forest-dwelling primates around a Rwandan forest fragment. Hum Dimens Wildl 19(2):179–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. McCabe JT, Leslie PW, Deluca L (2010) Adopting cultivation to remain pastoralists: the diversification of Maasai livelihoods in northern Tanzania. Hum Ecol 38(3):321–334

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Msoffe FU, Ogutu JO, Kaaya J, Bedelian C, Said MY, Kifugo SC, Reid RS, Neselle M, Van Gardingen P, Thirgood S (2010) Participatory wildlife surveys in communal lands: a case study from Simanjiro, Tanzania. Afr J Ecol 48(3):727–735

    Google Scholar 

  49. Mtenzi FJ, Chachage BL, Ngumbuke F (2008) The growth of tanzanian mobile phone sector: triumph of quantity, failure of quality? Proceedings of 1st International Conference on M4D Mobile Communication Technology for Development. M4D

  50. Mulder MB, Coppolillo P (2005) Conservation: linking ecology, economics, and culture. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  51. Mwakatobe A, Nyahongo J, Ntalwila J, Roskaft E (2014) The impact of crop raiding by wild animals in communities surrounding the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Int J Biodivers Conserv 6(9):637–646

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Myhr J, Nordstrøm L (2006) Livelihood changes enabled by mobile phones: the case of Tanzanian fishermen. Bachelor Thesis, Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden

  53. Naughton-Treves L (1998) Predicting patterns of crop damage by wildlife around Kibale National Park, Uganda. Conserv Biol 12(1):156–168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Naughton-Treves L, Treves A (2005) Socio-ecological factors shaping local support for wildlife: crop-raiding by elephants and other wildlife in Africa. In: Woodroffe R, Thirgood S, Rabinowitz A (eds) People and wildlife: conflict or coexistence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  55. Nyhus PJ, Osofsky SA, Ferraro PJ, Madden F, Fischer H (2005) Bearing the costs of human–wildlife conflict: the challenges of compensation schemes. In: Woodroffe R, Thirgood S, Rabinowitz A (eds) People and wildlife: conflict or coexistence. Cambridge University, New York

    Google Scholar 

  56. Okello MM (2005) Land use changes and human–wildlife conflicts in the Amboseli Area, Kenya. Hum Dimens Wildl 10(1):19–28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Olson DM, Dinerstein E (1998) The Global 200: a representation approach to conserving the Earth’s most biologically valuable ecoregions. Conserv Biol 12(3):502–515

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Ottichilo WK, de Leeuw J, Prins HH (2001) Population trends of resident wildebeest [Connochaetes taurinus hecki (Neumann)] and factors influencing them in the Masai Mara ecosystem, Kenya. Biol Conserv 97(3):271–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Packer C, Ikanda D, Kissui B, Kushnir H (2005) Conservation biology: lion attacks on humans in Tanzania. Nature 436(7053):927–928

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Packer C, Loveridge A, Canney S, Caro T, Garnett S, Pfeifer M, Zander K, Swanson A, Macnulty D, Balme G (2013) Conserving large carnivores: dollars and fence. Ecol Lett 16(5):635–641

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Patterson BD, Kasiki SM, Selempo E, Kays RW (2004) Livestock predation by lions (Panthera leo) and other carnivores on ranches neighboring Tsavo National Parks, Kenya. Biol Conserv 119(4):507–516

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Røskaft E, Mwakatobe A, Nyahongo J (2013) Livestock depredation by carnivores in the Serengeti ecosystem, Tanzania. Environ Nat Resour Res 3(4):46

    Google Scholar 

  63. Sachedina H, Trench PC (2009) Cattle and crops, tourism and tanzanite: poverty, land-use change and conservation in Simanjiro District, Tanzania. In: Homewood K, Kristjanson P, Trench PC (eds) Staying Maasai? Livelihoods conservation and development in East African Rangelands. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

  64. Salerno J, Borgerhoff Mulder M, Grote MN, Ghiselli M, Packer C (2015) Household livelihoods and conflict with wildlife in community-based conservation areas across northern Tanzania. Oryx. doi:10.1017/S0030605315000393

  65. Salia M, Nsowah-Nuamah NN, Steel WF (2011) Effects of mobile phone use on artisanal fishing market efficiency and livelihoods in Ghana. Electron J Inf Syst Dev Ctries 47:1–26

    Google Scholar 

  66. Sife AS, Kiondo E, Lyimo-Macha JG (2010) Contribution of mobile phones to rural livelihoods and poverty reduction in Morogoro Region, Tanzania. Electron J Inf Syst Dev Ctries 42:1–15

    Google Scholar 

  67. Sitati NW, Walpole MJ, Leader-Williams N (2005) Factors affecting susceptibility of farms to crop raiding by African elephants: using a predictive model to mitigate conflict. J Appl Ecol 42(6):1175–1182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Soto-Shoender JR, Giuliano WM (2011) Predation on livestock by large carnivores in the tropical lowlands of Guatemala. Oryx 45(04):561–568

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Souter D, Scott N, Garfoth C, Jain R, Mascarenhas O, McKemey K (2005) The economic impact of telecommunications on rural livelihoods and poverty reduction: a study of rural communities in India (Gujarat), Mozambique and Tanzania. In: C. T. O. F. U. D. F. I. (ed) Development

  70. Stevens M, Vitos M, Lewis J, Haklay M (2013) Participatory monitoring of poaching in the Congo basin. EXCITES. University College London, London

    Google Scholar 

  71. Treves A (2007) Balancing the needs of people and wildlife. In: Studies NIOE (ed) When wildlife damage crops and prey on livestock. Land Tenure Center, Madison

    Google Scholar 

  72. Treves A, Wallace RB, Naughton-Treves L, Morales A (2006) Co-managing human–wildlife conflicts: a review. Hum Dimens Wildl 11(6):383–396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. United Nations (2013) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013. http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/report-2013/mdg-report-2013-english.pdf. Accessed 2 Dec 2013

  74. Verdade LM, Lyra-Jorge MC, Piña CI (2014) Applied ecology and human dimensions in biological conservation. Springer, Heidelberg

    Google Scholar 

  75. Woodroffe R, Thirgood S, Rabinowitz A (2005) The impact of human–wildlife conflict on natural systems. In: Woodroffe R, Thirgood S, Rabinowitz A (eds) People and wildlife: conflict or coexistence. Cambridge University, New York

    Google Scholar 

  76. Wunder S (2007) The efficiency of payments for environmental services in tropical conservation. Conserv Biol 21(1):48–58

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Timothy D. Baird.

Ethics declarations

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.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lewis, A.L., Baird, T.D. & Sorice, M.G. Mobile Phone Use and Human–Wildlife Conflict in Northern Tanzania. Environmental Management 58, 117–129 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0694-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Human–wildlife conflict
  • Mobile phones
  • Conservation
  • Maasai
  • Tanzania