9 Jan

Geographical Review Article Preview: Challenges of Elephant Conservation: Insights from Oral Histories of Colonialism and Landscape in Tsavo, Kenya

Authors Name:  Peter Ngugi Kamau and Andrew Sluyter.

Article Title, Issue and VolumeChallenges of Elephant Conservation: Insights from Oral Histories of Colonialism and Landscape in Tsavo, Kenya.  GR 108.4

What is the main purpose of your study?

This study reveals how material and discursive colonial landscape transformation have not only worsened the relationship between  people and elephants but obfuscated a healthier, pre-colonial relationship.


What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?

By revealing a healthier, pre-colonial relationship between people and elephants, the study can contribute to improving current conservation policy by reasserting the crucial role of local peoples in elephant conservation

How does your study relate to other work on the subject?

While other studies take a technical approach to elephant conservation, this study probes the underlying assumptions of such technical approaches by reconstructing historical transformations using archival and oral primary sources.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?

One of the findings of this study is that human-elephant conflict tends to persist where protected areas have been established through forced resettlement of former inhabitants. The other important finding is that oral histories of living elders among communities living in Tsavo are a fundamental resource for collaborative initiatives that can inspire solutions to human-elephant conflicts.

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?

This study joins a growing literature from Africa and Asia that demonstrates how the colonial triangle model of colonial landscape transformation developed in the Americas can be applied to other regions and types of transformations.

How does your research help us think about Geography?  

This research shows that conservation is essentially a spatial issue since wildlife and people compete for space. Since geography is concerned with space, this research indicates the importance of geography in analyzing conservation challenges. Our research also demonstrates that geographic training gives geographers the capacity to apply mixed methods to a long-term, historical problem with present-day policy consequences.

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Click here to read the abstract of this article on the Wiley Online Library.