Why is there a rise in Human-Wildlife Conflicts in African Countries?
Why is there a rise in Human-Wildlife Conflicts in African Countries? African have been co-existing with Wildlife for many years. But this is rapidly changing, resulting in a high number of human-wildlife conflicts.
Most Wildlife in Africa live within Communities
Africa may have several protected areas dedicated to wildlife. But most of its wildlife, live outside these protected areas.
This includes big five wildlife like elephants, lions, buffalos, giraffe, zebras, and many others.
I remember during my previous visit to Naivasha. I met two young men who easily scared buffaloes that were grazing on the roadside.
They were on their way home, and they made us understand that wildlife fears humans. That’s why they comfortably scared them away knowing that they would simply run away.
This cannot be said by people in other parts. In these parts, they consider buffaloes to be very dangerous wildlife. And will do their best to stay away from them.
This is despite the two kinds of people occupying the same country.
The co-existence between wildlife and local communities made humans develop ways to co-exist with them. And they have been doing so peacefully, until recently.
Urbanization and developments. As we continue to get exposed to these developments and getting urban centers near us. Need for space, made us displace the wildlife.
They can no longer walk around freely and their space started to get smaller each day. Wildlife may not be able to get it at first, hence getting themselves into trouble when they end up in the human settlements.
Due to the diminishing space, resources too became scarce and wildlife had little to consume within the protected areas. So some end up in human settlements while looking for something to eat.
Change in the way of living by the local communities also contributes to human-wildlife conflicts. When people started farming too close to the protected areas, it attracted the big herbivores into their farms.
The predators also got attracted to the domesticated animals. And as a result, cases of human-wildlife conflict keep rising each day.
Humans and wildlife still need to have a way of co-existing. We don’t have to continue losing both humans and wildlife to human-wildlife conflicts.
This can only be achieved by promoting capacity building among the local communities living in areas with wildlife. We should also come up with policies that protect both wildlife, people and nature.
A well-informed people will be able to make the right decisions that will ensure each life is protected. They will understand the importance of finding a way to co-exist with other species just like the early man.
Tourism which is a result of wildlife presence in Africa is the backbone of our economy. It is the source of our survival, so if we don’t find a way to solve the human-wildlife conflicts. We will be losing our own heritage and source of income.
Human and wildlife lives are equally important. For conservation to be successful, we need an informed community that understands how critical it is to conserve our natural resources and wildlife.
The local communities have ways that they used to co-exist peacefully with wildlife. But when developments got introduced, they lost that balance. We are supposed to use their indigenous knowledge to finds ways on how we can implement in the development world. How we can still embrace developments without having to cause the death of either wildlife or humans when they crash.
This will not only promote developments in Africa, but it will also offer African wildlife a safe future. And no more species will be lost to extinction. Knowledge is power, yet to be fully utilized in our African countries.