Annals of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Muranda, Zororo ed. (2016)

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his special issue of Annals of Social and Behavioral Sciences containsseven articles. These articles focus on diverse issues concerning biodiversity and wildlife conservation of the Z i m b a b w e a n savanna ecosystem. Biodiversity i s important to human livelihoods (Persha et al., 2011), and in particular, protected areas play an important role in conserving such biodiversity and also sustaining livelihoods (Olff et al., 2002, NaughtonTreves et al., 2005), especially in tropical savanna ecosystems. Although savanna ecosystems harbor high diversity of large mammals (Prins and Olff, 1998, Du Toit and Cumming, 1999), there are increasing pressures, e.g., illegal resource harvesting, climate change, and habitat encroachment on these ecosystems which have implications on biodiversity conservation. The articles in this special issue bring together original research findings on behavioural animal ecology, human-wildlife interactions, conservation relationships, remote sensing applications in biodiversity conservation and resource utilisation. The studies reported were conducted by researchers from Zimbabwe and South Africa. Below are the brief accounts of articles in the current issue. The article by Kupika et al. assesses livestock depredation by large carnivores using a mixed- methods approach of rural communities in resettlement areas adjacent to hunting areas. This study highlights the importance of barriers (e.g., fences) in managing large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes as a way of mitigating human-carnivore conflicts. Mabika et al. presents a detailed analysis of elephant trophy quality trends in a hunting area. This study provides important findings which have implications for the adaptive management systems for elephant utilisation and conservation at the ecosystem level and beyond. Muboko et al. documents the extent and nature of human-elephant (Loxodonta africana) interactions in rural communities living adjacent to a large protected area. This study shows the importance of integrated land-use planning as a way of ensuring harmonious human and elephant co- xistence in human-dominated ecosystems. Muposhi et al. assesses the vigilance of a large herbivore species in an urban protected area using systematic scan sampling approach. The study shows the differential influence of human presence on animal behaviour related to animal herd composition.

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