Human-wildlife Conflict, Conservation Attitudes, and a Potential Role for Citizen Science in Sierra Leone, Africa

Lincoln R. Larson, April L. Conway, Sonia M. Hernandez, John P. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Protection of tropical biodiversity is often difficult due to persistent gaps in ecological data and complex conflicts between wildlife conservation and human livelihoods. To better understand the nature and extent of these conflicts, we conducted intercept surveys (n = 522) with local villagers around the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Sierra Leone (August - December, 2010). Results revealed high levels of crop depredation, retaliatory killing, and bushmeat harvesting in villages surrounding the protected area. We also found that pro-conservation attitudes were less prevalent among younger adults and immigrants to the region. Efforts to mitigate human-wildlife conflict could emphasise an enhanced awareness and appreciation of wildlife resources among these particular socio-demographic groups. In the second part of our study (May 2012), we interviewed a subset of local residents (n = 14) to explore the feasibility and utility of expanding our initial survey effort to create a more comprehensive and sustainable framework for monitoring human-wildlife interactions based on Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) principles. Findings highlighted the challenges of implementing a PPSR-type model in this difficult management context and the potential benefits of using "citizen science" to improve data collection capacity, increase local empowerment, and influence wildlife conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-217
Number of pages13
JournalConservation and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Bushmeat
  • Citizen science
  • Conservation
  • Crop depredation
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Public participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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