Human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) remain a serious conservation problem in Tanzania, particularly for rural communities near national parks. Despite this prevalence, research on rural women’s experiences with human-wildlife conflicts is limited. To address this research gap, this study examined the impacts of HWC on rural women from two villages neighboring Mikumi National Park (MNP) in Southeast Tanzania. A total of 20 adult female victims of human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) were purposely selected and interviewed to understand the impacts of human-wildlife conflicts in their lives. Findings indicate that loss of grassland and water within MNP borders exacerbated by climate change are pushing wild animals from MNP to seek food in nearby villages, causing frequent human-wildlife tensions. Crop damages, livestock killings, household food insecurity, and fears for physical safety were found to be significant impacts of HWC increasing rural women’s vulnerability to poverty. Despite these conservation threats, most interviewed HWC victims receive very little support from conservation authorities threatening the survival of wild animals from MNP. For peaceful co-existence, the study recommends empowering rural women with conservation training on HWC prevention and investment in the large-scale restoration of degraded lands and water sources to reduce competition over natural resources between humans and wildlife.
Key words: Human-wildlife conflict, rural women, Mikumi National Park, Tanzania.
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