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Maintaining complex relations with large cats: Maasai and lions in Kenya and Tanzania

By Mara J. Goldman, Joana Roque De Pinho, Jennifer Perry

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Research and conservation efforts often occur in areas outside of national parks where people live, often side-by-side and sometimes in conflict with large carnivores. In Tanzania and Kenya much of this work employs a human-wildlife conflict perspective and is based in Maasai areas, where many of the few remaining lions exist. We argue that while Maasai do come into conflict with lions, their relationship with the large cats is far more complex and includes positive dimensions. With quantitative and qualitative data, including Maasai narratives, we illustrate the nuanced ways in which Maasai relate with lions. Our aim is to highlight the complexity of Maasai perceptions of lions and the importance of understanding these complexities for improved lion conservation. The article contributes to a broader research agenda on human-wildlife interactions, the importance of perceptions, and the value of ethnographic research in conservation science. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

Publication Title Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Volume 15
Issue 5
Pages 332-346
ISBN/ISSN 1087-12091533-158X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10871209.2010.506671
Author Address Goldman, Mara J., Department of Geography, University of Colorado–Boulder 260 UCB, Boulder, CO, US, 80309-0260,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Africa
  2. Cats
  3. Comparisons
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. Interspecies interactions
  6. Kenya
  7. Lions
  8. national parks
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Recreation Areas
  11. Tanzania
  1. peer-reviewed