Blessings and Burdens of Charismatic Mega-Fauna

Blessings and Burdens of Charismatic Mega-Fauna : How Taita and Maasai Communities Deal with Wildlife Protection in Kenya

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This comparative ethnographic study combines the disciplines of Cultural Anthropology and International Relations to show in what ways international wildlife conservation and tourism influence the daily livelihoods of Taita and Maasai people living near the famous protected areas of Tsavo and Masai Mara in Kenya. Locals describe their desperate, courageous and mundane dealings with elephants, hyenas, wildebeest and lions, unveiling the secret meanings and forbidden uses of wild animals that are part of their contemporary lives. Nevertheless, their complex coexistence with wildlife has slipped out of balance. International pressure has fueled strict and often violent conservation measures by the Kenyan state, resulting in wildlife's increasingly arrogant attitude. To fight the resulting poverty issues, local Maasai now successfully exploit their overseas fame as symbols of an authentic Africa, by selling themselves as one of the charismatic mega-fauna they are trying to survive with.
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