Human activities that affect wildlife and their habitats are pervasive and increasing. Understanding the effects of humans on wildlife populations, as well as devising strategies to ameliorate these effects, is an increasing challenge for resource managers. Commitment of local communities to protected areas is also essential for conserving biodiversity, but little is known about local people attitudes toward biodiversity conservation. Therefore, this paper provides an empirical assessment of local people activities and their attitudes that affect wildlife and their habitats around Chebera Churchura National Park, Ethiopia from 2012 to 2014. Nine villages around the park were selected for this study. A total of 354 households were selected randomly for interview. A semi-structured questionnaire survey, focus group discussions and direct field observations were carried out in the nine selected villages. Among the various human activities recorded, firewood collection, bushfires setting fire, hunting, livestock grazing and farming were having great impacts on biodiversity conservation in the Park. Among the respondents, 51.2% reportedly used the park for livestock grazing, 50.2% for firewood and fodder collection, 15.6% for wild honey and spices collection, 23.1% for timber, 2.6% for wild meat and 2% for farming in and along the boundaries of the Park. Most respondents had positive attitudes towards the conservation of wildlife. A combined strategy aimed at improving local participation in wildlife conservation initiatives, initiation of public education and awareness campaigns and provision of alternative sources of income for the local people will reduce the threat, and contribute to improve conservation of wildlife in Chebera Churchura National Park.
Key words: Human activities, resource use, wildlife conservation.
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