Human-wildlife conflict (HWC), ensues when animals pose a direct and recurrent threat to the livelihood, safety of humans which leads to the persecution of that species in an area.
The most affected wildlife species in the HWC include: elephants, rhinos, lions, crocodiles and snakes. The retaliation by communities is often deleterious, as animals may attack.
Therefore, conservancies act on protection of wildlife species to suppress endangering and loss of these species.
The stealth invasion of human communities into the wild to cater for housing and plantation for the rising population, has caused an imbalance in the wild, mostly because the wild animals are confined to smaller hunting areas, and in most cases forced relocation to poor grazing areas and in search of water.
The human-wildlife conflict may probe local communities to become hostile towards wild animals resulting in high poaching rates and less compliance with conservation strategies that strive towards conflict between humans and wildlife.
Let’s make an example. Subsistence farming communities set up traps to minimize loss of harvest by elephants. Traditionally, large fires are made or the beating of drums to scare off the elephants. However, male elephants are hard to deter and can attack if threatened. Hence, the HWC arises between communities and elephants.
Or, big cats such as lions are often reported in the HWC because of their enormous territories when in search of prey. Those territories often include villages, rangelands and inhabited areas as well. It’s easy to understand how that can represent a threat for local communities.
What can be done to address the human-wildlife conflict?
- The conception of conservancies
Helps fight HWC, as wild animals are fenced off in these conservancies. The use of fences to mitigate the HWC in communities help minimize contact between humans and wildlife. Moreover, communities that habit these areas report to conservation management when threats arise. In doing so, both humans and wildlife are protected.
Dissemination of information is vital for the preservation of wildlife species, through newsletters, television shows and so on.
- Control and Regulation Policies
Collective efforts from government regulatory bodies to develop policies that address HWC. With the advent of technology remote monitoring of animal movement has become easy, e.g. elephants are collared, such that when near households, game ranchers can easily deter these elephants. This reduces conflict between humans and elephants.
Furthermore, a new technique often used for wild mammalian populations that suppresses fertility, the ‘immunocontraception’. A specific herd can be darted from a helicopter, minimizing contact with wild animals. This technique helps reduce over population among mammalian species in a geographic location, hence, allowing coexistence between humans and wild animals.
So policy makers can determine the fate of problematic or dangerous wild animals, which could be:
- Relocate to another area
What happens to human-wildlife conflict if not addressed?
- Significant loss in wildlife may occur
- Stealth extinction of wildlife species
- Poor yields as a result of crop damage
- Injuries and death of humans
In summary, communities residing in conservancies or nearby, often work closely with wildlife guards to help address the human-wildlife conflict.
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