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Human-wildlife conflict, opinion from experts!

Human wildlife conflict

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Human-wildlife conflict
Human-wildlife conflict

What is human-wildlife conflict?

Human-wildlife conflict growing competition for scarce resources between man and beast that has far reaching socioeconomic consequences. Major causes of the conflict are the human settlement in wildlife corridors, streambank cultivation, deforestation, expansion of arable land into forest areas and poaching. This in the immediate term leads to loss of lives, livelihoods and destruction of infrastructure. Wildlife destroys infrastructure, farmlands, crops, water sources, commodities and property of humans. The wildlife culprit species include elephants, buffaloes, lions, hippopotamuses, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, snakes and bees. The most susceptible folk is the one staying in marginal rural areas that are neighboring the country’s major animal encampments. Major encampments include national parks, game parks, sanctuary parks and wildlife orphanages. 

The local authorities namely: community leaders and uniformed forces (police and military) have over the years lashed out heavy punishments to human offenders who apply extreme or harsh measures to wildlife as a form of revenge. The humans retaliate by laying out snares, practicing illegal hunting and poaching, poisoning the animals drinking sources with cyanide which in turn kills the bulk of animals. When this happens the humans tend not to exert revenge to the few guilty culprits but mass massacre an innocent lot.

Justification

Are the humans justified for their actions? Absolutely not!

Is the wildlife granted a free role to go a rampage and willy-nilly destroy human possession just because they are neighbors? Absolutely not!

Are the local authorities on a verge of hunting down and pinning human
offenders? Yes of course!

Are their policies fully justified? Maybe, or maybe not!

So where is the dotted line for the authorities, humans and wildlife to mitigate the conflict?

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals!” ~ Immanuel Kant.

Local Authorities.

ZimParks (the national governing body operating every national parks in Zimbabwe) engages affected communities by teaching them protective measures against wildlife. This is a response mechanism promoting co-existence between people and wildlife. What others refer as a form of a wound healing practice.

On top of that, the Parastatal has a Wildlife Relief Fund that is released to the families of victimized individuals which also is their responsibility to conserve Zimbabwe’s wildlife heritage. They protection and sustainably utilize natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Local Authorities (Uniformed forces) stiffen the penalties to human offenders. They lay out heavy punishments to poaching, disallow the practice of streambank cultivation, regulate fishing by introducing fishing permits to name a few!. This is followed by a largescale engagement and announcements to ensure that everyone is aware which proves fruitful especially in central areas were most people tend to follow the set laws fearing being penalized.

Local Communities.

Local communities initiate community wildlife education systems in their respective communities and school. Some go as far as neighbor-hood watch programs to ensure the safety of their people. The Government engages local authorities especially Rural District Councils to liaise with local communities. This then breeds district projects like training local game rangers, establishing solar community gardens, fish ponds, human-wildlife conflict campaigns, climate-smart agriculture, biogas digesters, apiculture and chilli technologies.

Wildlife.

Wild animals need to learn how to fend for themselves, and this is an important part of their survival. This poses as a challenge to means applied to ensure a correspondence. Wildlife does not usually go out of their respective territories and disturb humans. When this happens, it is usually due to overlooked underlying factors. When wildlife look for trouble, it usually is during drought, breeding season and a human disturbance.

The wildlife experts now have a clear pattern of what to expect and when to expect such. Wildlife is classified according to the degree of of danger for example snakes habitat in the open wild but if they endanger locals, then orphanages and snake parks are the solutions. Lions live in enclosure. Elephants live a freely in the wild due to their colossal body mass that demands large sums of food. Normally elephants are of good manners but they tend to wreck havoc during breeding season. In general animals tend to be territorial but they are not that aggressive towards humans!

Conclusion

Mitigating human-wildlife conflict is not an easy task: all possible measures have to be done continuously over a long period of time before any positives are deducted. Other applicable means include guiding animal movement in developed areas, and wildlife corridors (areas of preserved native habitat in human dominated regions, provide wildlife with a safe pathway as they travel between larger areas of intact habitat).

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