Human health in Western Serengeti : using three methodologies to better understand the interactions and impacts of conservation, culture, and poverty
Knapp, Linda M.
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Set in the famous ecosystem of one of the world’s largest wildlife migrations, this anthropological research was conducted (in 2004-2007) in villages adjacent to Serengeti National Park. Using several different methodologies (nutritional analyses, archival data collection, and qualitative semi-structured interviews), this study seeks to answer the question: what is the health status of western Serengeti people? Particularly important is the emergence of three key themes: conservation, culture, and poverty and how each are correlated to various health indicators in this study. Overall, the combined methods demonstrate that western Serengeti people have relatively poor health (compared to the rest of rural Tanzanians) and simple (lowprotein) diets, a fact that is significantly correlated to low socio-economic status. The role of conservation upon human health is still somewhat unclear as nutritional data do not indicate an immediate negative correlation, yet interviewees’ perceptions are that wildlife are harmful to their food security and well-being.