LOCAL PEOPLE'S PERCEPTIONS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND TOURISM IN KAINJI LAKE NATIONAL PARK SUPPORT ZONE, NIGER STATE, NIGERIA
Abstract:The common opinion of many conservationists is that protected areas are likely to fail unless residents are somewhat involved in conservation efforts that led to the development of community conservation. This study contributes to providing insights into the local people's perceptions of wildlife conservation and tourism in Kainji Lake National Park Support Zone, Niger State, Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used in the selection of 112 respondents. Primary data were obtained on respondents' characteristics and their perceptions of wildlife conservation and tourism through the use of a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Results showed that the majority of the respondents were male (94.98%), married (81.99%) and had no formal education (72.13%). The mean age and household size were 43 years and 8 members respectively. The local people had slightly positive perceptions of wildlife conservation (3.4) and wildlife tourism (4.1). Pearson Product Moment Correlation showed that the local people’s perceptions of wildlife conservation significantly associates with their perceptions of wildlife tourism (r = 0.72; p < 0.05). Based on the results of the study, it was recommended that conservation organizations should foster positive local people perceptions and address potential causes of negative perceptions of wildlife conservation and tourism.