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The Maasai-Elephant Relationship: The Evolution and Influence of Culture, Land Use, and Attitudes

The Maasai-Elephant Relationship: The Evolution and Influence of Culture, Land Use, and Attitudes

Chapter:
(p.291) Chapter 19 The Maasai-Elephant Relationship: The Evolution and Influence of Culture, Land Use, and Attitudes
Source:
The Amboseli Elephants
Author(s):
Christine Browne-Nuñez
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226542263.003.0019

As the Amboseli landscape has evolved over time, so has the relationship between elephants and the Maasai. Understanding the dynamics of their interactions is critical to conserving the Amboseli elephants and ensuring the well-being of the human population with whom they coexist. This chapter considers the Maasai–elephant relationship by examining the attitudes and behaviors of the Maasai toward elephants over time. To do so, it reviews historical accounts of early European travelers through Maasai land, discusses the results of recent attitudinal research in the Amboseli ecosystem, and evaluates the notion of the Maasai as conservationists. The chapter considers the importance of culture, livelihood activities, conservation interventions, and land-use change in determining the future of the Maasai–elephant relationship in Amboseli.

Keywords:   Maasai–elephant relationship, land use, Amboseli elephants, Amboseli landscape, Amboseli ecosystem, conservation

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