1st World Wildlife Day sees launch of human-wildlife conflict management centre in Zimbabwe

03/03/2014 - 

Over the last decade, Africa has witnessed demographic expansion resulting in encroachments into wildlife habitat, and increased cases of Human-wildlife conflicts (HWC), threatening both human and wildlife populations.

Similarly, dramatic trends in criminal hunting and trade are threatening many wildlife species to the verge of extinction. Concerted and efficient Human-wildlife conflict mitigation strategies need to be implemented to manage wildlife in order to provide ecological, social, economic and cultural contributions to human development, food security, and find a right balance for living in harmony with nature.

Against this background; and on the occasion of the 1st World Wildlife Day on 3 March, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, CAMPFIRE and BIO-HUB Trust with technical and financial support from FAO, set up the HWC management centre at Mukuvisi woodlands aimed at raising awareness about the causes and consequences of HWC as well as providing visitors with information on different strategies to prevent and mitigate HWC.

According to Rene Czudek, FAO Forestry and Wildlife Officer who was invited to address the official opening of the new HWC management centre, "the centre shares, in a very visual way, experiences from implementation of an FAO supported HWC project, demonstratingsome of the tools and management strategies included in the HWC mitigation toolkit developed and tested by the project partners during implementation of the project entitled Securing farming systems and livelihoods in communal lands adjacent to protected areas through human and wildlife conflict management.

This project is itself considered an important milestone in efforts to raise awareness on wildlife conservation and Human-Wildlife Conflict mitigation issues and link them with FAO mandate and objectives in the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF 2007-2011) seeking to improve food security and rural communities’ livelihoods and to sustainably manage natural resources. This should contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals in Zimbabwe.

Human and wildlife conflicts threaten both human lives, livelihoods and the survival of wildlife throughout the world. However, in developing countries whose economies are agriculturally based, it has significant negative impacts on food security and livelihood enhancement.

What emerges from most studies is that HWCs are not new; they have been in existence since time immemorial and where wildlife shares space with humans. However, today, the problem is increasing due to human population growth and competition for scarce resources, resulting in an ever dwindling habitat for wildlife. Although HWCs, like any other conflicts are inevitable, it is the management of HWCs and their mitigation that is critical."

Submitted by: Rene Czudek
FAO Office: FAO Zimbabwe
Country: Zimbabwe