Community wildlife conservation programs should go beyond meetings, self-help projects and arrests of poachers


The Chronicle

Zulu Mahlabezulu
A number of approaches have been used to safeguard different natural resources. The use and vulnerability depend mainly on its social and economic value.

The considerably more valuable wildlife has generated a lot of interest as parties involved try to apply different approaches to ensure it is protected. It is unfortunate that some wild species like the number of animals decrease because humans still target them as a means of survival or alter their habitats.

Through research, these wildlife species have been classified as ‘Endangered’ or ‘Rare’ e.g. Painted Dog, Rhinoceros, Pangolin and many more

Various platforms have been used to promote the coexistence of humans and wildlife, they help protect wildlife whose continued existence will ultimately benefit humans. Conservation education programs in schools as well as other institutes of higher education, and arrests of poachers are some of the approaches that have been used.

Depending on the approach and the environment in which these wildlife conservation programs are carried out, some of the approaches have become successful as poaching records in the targeted areas have been drastically reduced and wildlife conservation is improved. become part of the culture of the community, for example. for example, community leaders or individuals who lead wildlife conservation programs in their respective communities. Some of these platforms have been found to be more effective than others.

Community meetings are mainly held to exchange ideas on how to interact with wildlife, self-help projects protect communities so that they do not put a lot of pressure on wildlife for survival, the Conservation education in communities and learning institutes are intended to instill a sense of responsibility through a change of mindset.

Sometimes the local community members of the neighboring safari, national park or forest area are always given priority when it comes to employment opportunities by different related organizations – for anyone who would have had the opportunity to be employed by that avenue, it will be like biting your tail if you don’t play a central role in wildlife conservation.

Unlike abroad, where some species of wildlife are kept in captivity, such as in zoos to educate the public on their importance, we have few wildlife orphanages locally like Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage. A number of wildlife species are kept in zoos as “animal ambassadors” – these are samples of animals that represent other animals of the same species.

It is unfortunate that some species such as baboons, due to their huge population, have been considered to be of no “conservation value”, that is, their population does not warrant conservation and their uncontrollable behavior deprives them of their potential. the possibility of being exhibited in these zoos. .

It is good that in these zoos educational programs help the public to understand and love the wildlife by seeing and sometimes touching these animals, for example a turtle, chameleon, harmless snakes and this has sometimes reduced the phobia of the animals. people.

As proof, we have seen how the people of these countries recount or admire the beauty of our wild animals which they see in the wildlife protected areas of our country.

While this method can be considered one of the best methods of bringing people closer to wildlife compared to other approaches that can be used to conserve wildlife, it is unfortunate that a similar program could be used, but the approach is not popular in our country, for example, an annual program in which some representatives of the surrounding wildlife community may be offered game viewing opportunities in a game reserve or park.

In this case, the team will have the opportunity to admire the beauty of the wildlife they are encouraged to conserve. If people have such an opportunity, they will see some of those rare species that do not visit human habitats, for example, painted dogs and sands.

Although this is considered to be one of the effective methods for communities to understand wildlife, it is unfortunate that a few organizations are using it. It is a good thing that some of the wildlife organizations have introduced interactive nature activities for children in their centers, and these activities have brought this target group closer to understanding wildlife and the importance of its conservation. .

From our experiences as human beings, we have longtime neighbors whom we sometimes visit and share ideas – such visits bring understanding and bond between us through knowing family members.

Some of these community-based wildlife conservation approaches used are like trying to create a bond “between you and your neighbor about whom you don’t know much”, for example, introducing a self-help project whose goal is to conserve wild life.

Due to the lack of resources, most of the community members do not have the opportunity to visit and see the beauty of the wildlife and these communities are not aware of some of the species of wildlife that are found. in nearby wildlife protected areas, as some of the wild animal species the species rarely approach human habitats.

Offering such a program where the community has the opportunity to visit wildlife sanctuaries through activities like game viewing will be a motivating way to encourage them to conserve wildlife – it will create a good bond between communities and wildlife.

Although the expense of carrying out such an activity is a stumbling block for wildlife conservation projects, a joint venture program for these communities can be organized and this would involve various stakeholders, i.e. that is, the exclusion of the payment of park fees by the responsible authority, the provision of an ideal vehicle and the necessary provisions by others.

It is very beneficial for wildlife stakeholders who participate in wildlife conservation programs in some communities to realize that joint venture programs are sometimes important and effective – this also avoids duplication programs which sometimes will not be successful. effective!

* Mahlabezulu Zulu is an environmentalist who has worked for various wildlife research and conservation organizations in Hwange and Fuller Forestry National Parks in Victoria Falls.

He can be reached on 00263 (0) 713269827/0776196171. E-mail [email protected] Where [email protected]

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