Conflicts between humans and wild animals play an important role in shaping conservation paradigm and perception of local people towards different species of wildlife. The most common problem presented by wildlife to humans includes crop damage, attacking and killing human, spreading of diseases and destruction of water sources. In Tanzania, attacks of humans by large carnivores especially lions is a growing problem although it is limited to some few areas like Ruvuma, Mtwara, Lindi and Singida regions. The current study was conducted between September and November 2008 in villages located along Songea-Masasi highway. Structured and semi-structured questionnaires were administered to respondents. Majority (70.8%) of respondents claimed that wildlife populations were decreasing. More than 70% of respondents claimed to know at least one person that was killed by wild animals. The more killing occurred in the field at night mostly during the rain season. The lions killed 48 individuals in the past five years followed by elephants (16 people), crocodiles (9 people), buffalos (7 people), while hippos and snakes killed five individuals each. Most respondents believe that the lions that attack and kill people are not real animals but are ghost that are created by witch doctors for revenge purpose. Poverty, low level of education plus low density of prey species elucidate the socio-cultural norms and values that substantiate the man eating lions in the area. Establishment of income generating projects, that is, formation of wildlife management areas together with environmental education are important socio-economic activities that would reduce human-wildlife conflict.
Key words: Wild animals, socio-cultural norms, values, Tanzania.
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