Man and Elephant: Spatial Planning for Implementation of New Land Use Patterns in Taita Taveta District.

The Luhya community of Kenya has a saying, which goes that, "whoever sleeps with an elephant must have strong ribs". Literary this can be translated to mean that whoever decides to co-exist with an elephant must be prepared to face daunting tasks. And it is true that for years, human beings have tried to co-exist with elephants. Indian communities for centuries, have managed to tame and domesticate Indian elephants (Elphas Maximus). Besides performing other tasks, like taking part in festivals, they are also used as beasts of burden.

Though the African Elephants (Loxodanta Africana) have defied any attempts of being domesticated, for centuries they have played a significant role in providing human beings with happiness and sorrow. The elephant tusks are used essentially as a decoration and symbol of wealthy and power. Their tails, skin and meat are also useful to human beings. Their feaces have medicinal values, which through generations have been used as a cure for number of diseases. Both colonial and post-colonial governments in East Africa have used elephants to marshal tourism industry. But with all these benefits, elephants have been a cause of misery to many communities living adjacent to protected areas.

This study is an attempt to address three main research problems, namely, the elephant problem and their conservation, poverty and land use. The elephant problem has evolved from their population numbers, which at one time exceeded the carrying capacity of some protected areas in 1960's, later on assuming the form of human-elephant conflict. The management of conflict is what this research is proposing to address through policy recommendations.

Taita Taveta district is facing a social problem of prevailing poverty. The elephant problem is one of the causes of poverty in the district, among other factors. One way of alleviating poverty is through the establishment of elephant conservation areas. The conservation will turn the ineffective land use into an effective one and to become a source of income to some households.

With exception of the National Park, the current land use approaches in Taita Taveta are ineffective. This is because of a number of reasons such as climatic conditions, land fragmentation, incompatibility of land use method and poor land use practices, among other factors. This study address these issues and putforth propositions for other new land use practices.

The study has relied on primary and secondary data. The primary data has been used to verify the existing secondary data, and has been subjected to analysis and subsequent interpretations and conclusions.

The study has proposed a policy framework for comprehensive land use policy, and wildlife conservation in unprotected areas.