Community is vital when it comes to tourism and wildlife conservation. This is mostly because most of the wildlife is found within the communities. Limited wildlife actually stays inside the different conservation areas. They have not been a problem of their co-existence, until recently. And communities are getting impatient.
Change of Land-use
Communities are embracing different means of livelihood, especially land use.
Climate change has made weather patterns hard to predict, hence difficult to predict where to get the abundance pasture for the livestock. Not forgetting the traditional farming.
With all these disruptions, people have been adapting to them. And even went ahead to look for ways that could mitigate the situations.
Due to the try and trial phase, and lack of involvement by all parties. Wildlife was left out.
The changes made were not necessarily friendly to their movement, or in support of the existing human-wildlife relationship.
Sadly, most of their dispersal areas are within private land. Hence no policies to protect any activities that may hinder their movement. This has continued to shrink wildlife homes. Not leaving out the possibility of land grabbing by the corrupt lot.
Farming in the areas prone to wildlife movement has been birthed human-wildlife conflicts, that continue to cost both humans and wildlife.
Humans have been losing property, life, and even sanity.
Wildlife has been losing migration corridors, dispersal areas, life, and shrinking of their home.
Finding a balance between these two will go a long way in ensuring that both wildlife and the community flourish.
The community interacts more with Wildlife
As discussed above, most of our wildlife is found within communities.
For a very long time, we managed to co-exist. But that is quickly changing.
Some of the community members don’t feel like they should continue with this relationship. And they have continuously threatened to harm wildlife if they stray into their spaces.
This needs to change, without being unfair to the community. They have to be the ones, coming up with the idea, and its implementations. Accepting wildlife, and sharing the available resources.
Tourism should not be felt as if to be benefiting a certain class or group of people. To a point where the rest feel like wildlife means nothing to them. Am talking about sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation by the local community.
Sitatunga is one of the examples of wildlife saved from extinction by the local community. They were able to embrace them, and even go an extra mile to ensure they multiple.
These practices need to spread all over places with wildlife.
Once, communities see wildlife as their heritage and part of the community. They will embrace activities and practices that allow them to co-exists.
The unique cultures among communities do attract tourists. Which is a place, if we have wildlife in place.
It’s time we sit down and have a serious conversation about this.
Bringing together communities, and truly listening to their concerns. Calling out and making the concerned corrupt lot accountable for their actions. So that we could promote wildlife conservation.
Once wildlife conservation thrives, tourism will perform extremely well without interfering with wildlife homes, or exploitation of the communities.
It’s time to speak up for both wildlife and local communities.