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Conflicts in Protected Areas in Africa: Livestock and the Conservation of the Rwenya Wildlife Management Area, North Zimbabwe

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Hall, Stephen; Blench, Richard
Date: 1998
Agency: Agricultural Research & Extension Network, Overseas Development Institute, London
Series: AGREN Network Paper, no. 82b
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/4729
Sector: Agriculture
Region: Africa
Subject(s): conflict
wildlife
conservation
agriculture
Abstract: "Protected areas will only be adequately conserved if the conflicting demands of environmental managers and the people who exploit the resources of the area are resolved. In much of Africa, it is the demands of livestock owners for water and feed that are often seen as being particularly at variance with environmental protection and the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources. Hunters, also, will need to be persuaded to accept controls on their activities. Provision of alternative sources of income and subsistence, such as small scale livestock enterprises, may help to secure this. Background information on livestock systems is therefore needed and this paper reports on a field study, made in May 1997, of the livestock systems of the areas immediately north and south of the Rwenya Wildlife Management Area in north east Zimbabwe. Farmers currently use the Rwenya Wildlife Management Area for grazing and watering their cattle. There is little control and no monitoring of the impact on the environment. The minefield running along the border with Mozambique acts to deter itinerant herds from entering the reserve. This is believed to lower disease and tsetse challenge and farmers express no desire for removal of the landmines. Major constraints on the development of livestock would be removed if there were improvements in water and feed resources, veterinary and extension services, and marketing. Enhancing the value of the Rwenya Wildlife Management Area for conservation of wildlife will curtail the freedom of cattle owners to exploit its water and pasture resources. However in view of the rather low level of input of veterinary, extension and marketing services, it seems possible that herd owners would accept this new constraint in return for improvements in such services, together with the provision of more dams and boreholes."

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