Proximity in a Ghanaian savanna: Human reactions to the African palm civet Nandinia binotata

Authors

  • Michael Campbell

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geography, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
      Michael Campbell (email: ecol55@hotmail.com)
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Michael Campbell (email: ecol55@hotmail.com)

Abstract

Understanding human reactions to wildlife, including the differing reactions of different groups to different species, is important given that expanding human population and settlements increasingly result in natural habitat loss or modification and, consequently, wildlife adaptation and encroachment into cleared and created human spaces such as wastelands and farms. This paper examines the importance of gender and age in the responses of rural coastal villagers in Ghana to the presence of African palm civets. Social data gathered from 450 residents in six villages indicated that women and young people were significantly more fearful of civets, seeing them as village marauders, food thieves and livestock predators. Women were also more likely to carry sticks and beat thick vegetation to dispel civets out of concern for the safety of their children and homes. These findings may inform both rural development and conservation debates and policies.

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