We aim to use our wildlife research to aid surrounding communities. We will integrate our research with community initiatives to reduce human-wildlife conflict using several proven methods, such as chilli deterrent efforts, and beehive fences.
The local communities surrounding Chizarira National Park frequently deal with human-wildlife conflict. Lions sometimes kill or injure livestock and people, whilst elephants sometimes cause damage to housing and communal structures, raid crops, and cause injury or death to people. Both African lions and African Savanna elephants are iconic African wildlife and are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Vulnerable” and “Endangered”, respectively. It is crucial to understand how to effectively conserve these species whilst also providing a safer coexistence for the local communities that surround national parks, such as Chizarira.
Our community initiative aims to use our research data on movement patterns for elephants to establish safer corridors for them to pass between Protected Areas with minimal conflict. There have been significant studies to suggest that chilli deterrent efforts, such as chilli fences are effective mitigation strategies for human-elephant conflict. Elephants are also naturally deterred by bees. With this initiative, we aim to implement chilli deterrent efforts through the establishment of chilli gardens for future use and beehive fences among local communities to reduce conflict and mitigate the associated risks.
This initiative also aims to integrate our lion research to effectively create predator proof bomas. Our efforts are also focused on encouraging the kraaling of livestock overnight to reduce the likelihood of incidents involving wildlife.