FAO Regional Office for Africa

Wildlife discussed at XIV World Forestry Congress in South Africa

Need to reconcile human-wildlife conflicts exacerbated by climate change

An elephant foraging in the Meru National Park, Kenya. Photo credit: ©FAO/Tony Karumba

9 September 2015, Durban – An increase in human-wildlife conflict is posing a major threat to sustainable wildlife management, delegates at a Wildlife Forum held during the XIV World Forestry Congress heard today.

Coordinated by the Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW)*, the Forum heard that sustainably managed wildlife can play a pivotal role in food and livelihood security by providing nutrition and income, and contribute considerably to the alleviation of poverty in addition to maintaining and enhancing the ecological stability of forest ecosystems.

However, in many regions conflict between humans and wildlife is intensifying as a result of human population growth and human encroachment in wildlife areas, land use changes and climate change, which is increasing competition for water and habitats.

“Loss of crops and livestock, damaged infrastructure, injury and death are all potential impacts of human-wildlife conflict, and wildlife species may be killed to prevent these negative impacts, which in turn can affect populations and ecosystems,” explains Eduardo Mansur, Director of FAO'sForest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division.

“Without adequate management of ecosystems and wildlife, species can also transmit pathogens to humans and livestock, while common livestock diseases such as brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis can have serious negative effects on wildlife populations.”

The Forum heard that local communities adversely affected by wildlife species must engage in the process of developing a response to human-wildlife conflict for efforts to be successful.

“Communities are more likely to be tolerant of wildlife and damage caused if their losses are compensated, either directly by governments or conservation organizations, or in kind, for example by being legally recognized as stewards of wildlife on their own land and retaining some of the income generated from tourism,” said Mansur.

Human-wildlife conflict was also the topic of one of two CPW fact sheets launched during the forum, with the other fact sheet focusing on sustainable wildlife management and animal health.

Collaboration needed for sustainable wildlife management

Delegates discussed the need for strong inter-agency collaboration, adequate legislation and the deployment of novel and innovative approaches to counter wildlife and forest crime. They agreed that successful wildlife management requires meaningful participation of communities, policymakers and other stakeholders.

The forum also heard the results of new studies on the use of wild meat in tropical areas in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well as ideas for research to achieve sustainable and responsible consumption and trade of bushmeat.

The Wildlife Forum brought together various players in the sector including United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organisations.

* The Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) is a voluntary partnership of international organizations with substantive mandates and programmes for the sustainable use and conservation of wildlife resources. The mission of the CPW is to increase cooperation and coordination among its members and other interested parties on sustainable wildlife management to promote the sustainable use and conservation of terrestrial vertebrate wildlife in all biomes and geographic areas.


FAO Flickr: XIV World Forestry Congress, - 7-11 September 2015, Durban, South Africa


Liliane Kambirigi | Communication Officer | FAO Regional Office for Africa | [email protected]
Edward Ogolla | Communication Officer | FAO sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa | [email protected] | Mob: +26876800485
Maria De Cristofaro | Forestry Officer | FAO HQ | [email protected]