Drivers of illegal hunting in and around Altash national Park, northwest Ethiopia
Mekuriaw Zewdie Ayalew, Getahun Tassew Melese
Illegal hunting remains a threat to the wildlife of most protected areas in Ethiopia, including Altash national park. To address this problem, reliable site-specific information on why people illegally hunt wildlife is crucial. The aim of this study was to assess drivers of illegal hunting in and around Altash national park. One hundred seventy six households were selected through stratified random sampling from nine villages situated within 10 km of the park boundary and surveyed by using questionnaire composed of both open and closed ended questions. Besides, interviews with nine key informants selected through respondent driven technique, and three focused group discussions comprising 7-10 individuals were conducted for this study. The study was employed binary logistic regression model by using SPSS version 20. The model result indicates that illegal hunting involvement is more likely in households who have gun access, small farmland, low annual income, bushmeat preference, traditional practice attached to wildlife products, conflict with the park office, positive perception on social prestige of being a hunter, and are native to the study area. Since hunting is a prohibited practice in the study area, respondents are unlikely to respond openly to questions related to it and thus the factors may not cover the full range of household characteristics involved in illegal hunting behavior. To this end, further study is needed to assess the complete range of factors through methods that can guarantee anonymity of respondents. However, wildlife policy makers and managers should consider these factors when designing interventions to illegal hunting problem in the study area.