In an effort to manage human-wildlife conflict, ALERT has worked alongside Lion Encounter and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) on an important pilot project; installing an intricate lighting system on homesteads to deter predators from attacking livestock at night.
In recent years predators such as hyena, baboon, elephant, buffalo and particularly lion, have become frequent visitors to the environmental sub-committee areas of Jambezi, Monde and Matetsi. These communities border nature conservation areas such a forest reserves, safari areas and national parks, which are not fenced or properly cordoned off, hence predators easily wander into these areas, causing various problems with livestock and crops.
Most recently, six additional homesteads have had the new lighting system installed; this is further to the five original homesteads that have already had the system installed. The system is set up utilizing Nite Guard solar-powered LED lights and once installation has taken place, there have been very few to no reports of any night time attacks on livestock in these Kraals. We are excited to have recently been awarded £10,000 for this project by Coventry University so that we can extend this to many other homesteads.
This human-wildlife conflict problem occurs where people live in areas adjacent to populations of wild animals. Historically, people and wild animals have been able to co-exist, but this relationship has become more complicated with the increase in human population and farming practices. As a result, the wild animals are identified as problematic and suffer retaliatory killing after raiding crops or killing livestock.
The lighting system is expected to prevent night-time attacks, which constitute a large percentage of all attacks and is definitely a positive step forward. However, it is not expected to combat the problem of daytime incidents at this stage. Solutions to this will be investigated, should it remain a serious issue. Whenever occurrences take place, they are reported to ZimParks, who then react and use a strategy relevant to the situation on the ground.
We are optimistic that all problems will be eradicated and that animals and the communities will be able to co-exist peacefully, with no harm to either party.
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