Incidence and Risk Factors of Wildlife-Associated Human Injuries in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Human-wildlife conflicts, leading to fatal or non-fatal human injuries, constitute a global public health issue. This paper identifies the types of human-wildlife conflicts, and the incidence and risk factors of wildlife-associated human injuries in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP), Uganda, between 2006 and 2010. Seventy-one individuals participated in four focus group discussions (FGD) while 90 participants were surveyed using interviewer-administered questionnaires, retrospectively. Data obtained from FGDs were organized into themes, whereas the incidence of human injury caused by wildlife and relative risks were calculated, using EPIINFO™ at a level of significance of α = 0.05. Based on FGDs, wildlife-associated human injuries ranked third worst form of human-wildlife conflict behind crop and livestock destruction. The data showed an upward trend in the incidence of wildlife-related human injuries, with an average of 80 wildlife-associated human injuries per 1,000 persons per year. Compared to other economic activities, fishing [RR = 1.7; 95%CI (1.1 - 2.5)] and farming [RR = 1.5; 95%CI (1.0 - 2.3)] had a 70% and 50% greater risk of wildlife-associated human injury, respectively. Nocturnal and dry season activities were twice as risky [RR=2.0; 95%CI (1.0 - 4.0)] and [RR=2.6; 95%CI (1.4 - 5.0)] compared to day time and wet season activities, respectively. Males and respondents aged between 18 - 25 years, who were involved in fishing and farming, were at greater risk of wildlife-associated human injuries compared to females and other age groups, respectively. Hippos were the most single frequent cause of human injuries (27%), followed by elephants (22%), and crocodiles (19%). The incidence of wildlife-associated human injury showed increasing trends in QENP during the study period. Economic activities, as well as temporal variations were significantly associated with the incidence of wildlife-associated human injuries, and they were modified gender and age of respondent.

Author(s): Richard M Kabuusu*, John B Amuno, Yusuf Maseruka and Calum Macpherson

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