Community Knowledge and Attitudes towards the Critically Endangered Mountain Bongo in Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy

Justin Njeru *

Department of Environmental Studies, Chuka University, Kenya.

Peter Fundi

Department of Environmental Studies, Chuka University, Kenya.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Aims: To assess local community knowledge and attitudes towards the conservation of the critically endangered Mountain bongo in Mt Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.

Study Design:  Descriptive research design was used.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in the community neighboring Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and the adjacent part of the Mt Kenya Forest during the month of March 2020.

Methodology: The survey targeted approximately 500 households that are less than 3 kilometers from the conservancy and forest boundaries. Households were considered as sampling units and these were selected using systematic random sampling technique. The interviews were conducted in a semi-structured manner and colored photographs of the Mountain bongo and 12 other selected mammals found in the region were used to assess respondent’s basic knowledge about the animals.

Results: The results captured 142 informants where 71.8% of the respondents could identify the mountain bongo but only 18.3% were aware of its vernacular name. Knowledge on habitat requirements, feeding habits, threats and conservation value differed significantly from what was expected (p<0.05). Based on logistic regression, the knowledge could be predicted based on gender and age and whether one had a previous interaction with the animal.  We found that 57% of the respondents supported bongo conservation whereas 40.8% were undecided and this was associated with lack of knowledge about the animal.  In addition 27.5% of the respondents appreciated mountain bongo because of attracting tourists, 12.0% felt that the antelope was attractive, 8.5% liked its size, 4.2% liked its products such as bushmeat, 4.2% liked its aggressiveness and 0.7% liked its interesting behaviour.

Conclusion: Although bongos could be identified by most respondents, basic ecological knowledge of the animal is limited in the community. A pro-conservation attitude towards bongos exists in the community, but the utilitarian value attached to it and its habitat could be a threat to its conservation in the Mt Kenya. Local community support for conservation of the Mountain bongo in Mt Kenya was influenced by gender, age and knowledge of the animal and these factors should be considered when creating conservation awareness in the community.

Keywords: Attitudes, community, conservation, endangered, knowledge, Mountain bongo


How to Cite

Njeru , Justin, and Peter Fundi. 2023. “Community Knowledge and Attitudes towards the Critically Endangered Mountain Bongo in Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy”. Asian Journal of Environment & Ecology 22 (3):48-60. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajee/2023/v22i3488.

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