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Courtesy of Blackbean Productions

It’s no secret that sharing a home with wildlife often comes with conflict – whether it be predators eating livestock or elephants raiding crops, it’s not always sunshine and roses. Loss in the form of finances or even human lives brews up a strong tension between us and our four-legged friends, and navigating a fair path forward can quickly become very complicated.

Over the years, many people and communities have walked a path of sacrifice and understanding from wildlife persecution to living in harmony – but as with most things worth our while, it doesn’t come easy.

root causes of conflict

Although the main sources of conflict can be extremely complex and vary from region to region, the main drivers can be dwindled down to the following:

  • Wildlife habitat loss and fragmentation

  • Overpopulation

  • Human-wildlife competition for resources.

Additionally, a lack of knowledge and understanding of wildlife behavior, cultural attitudes, and economic incentives can also contribute to the witch’s brew that is human-wildlife conflict.

impacts of conflict

It’s incredibly important to remember that conflict goes both ways, and this particular situation is no different. Both people and our wildlife suffer significantly when such disputes occur - people with lives (livestock, pets, or their own), property, and finances, and animals with habitat loss or destruction, declining numbers, and persecution.

Courtesy of Blackbean Productions

integrating wildlife conservation into sustainable agriculture practices

Sustainable agriculture practices that consider the needs of both wildlife and humans can help reduce the risk of conflict and promote conservation. From incorporating wildlife-friendly farming practices to education and outreach programs that promote coexistence between humans and wildlife, some of the most successful ways to navigate these tricky waters follow below:

wildlife-friendly farming practices

Wildlife-friendly farming practices, such as agroforestry, intercropping, and fencing, can help to reduce the risk of crop damage and property damage, as well as provide habitat and food resources for wildlife.

An added bonus is that these practices can also help to support sustainable agriculture and reduce the need for harmful pesticides and other chemicals.

An incredible example of wildlife-friendly farming practices is currently being undertaken in the western boundary of the Singita Grumeti concession area in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. From subsidies being provided to affected farmers and families, to a specialized semi-fencing regime that restricts elephant movement into surrounding farmlands (since this is their primary source of conflict), the park and its rangers are providing every possible strategy to reduce conflict in this area as much as possible.

Such practices would be impossible to implement without people and communities who have an understanding and appreciation for their natural environment - wildlife included.

education and outreach programs

As is always the case, education, and outreach can move mountains and plays a critical role in promoting coexistence between humans and wildlife and reducing the risk of conflict. These programs can include community-based initiatives, school programs, and public awareness campaigns that promote an understanding of wildlife behaviour and encourage peaceful coexistence.

Courtesy of Blackbean Productions

what can I do?

By participating in education and outreach programs, supporting conservation organizations, and adopting wildlife-friendly farming practices, we can all make a difference in helping create a more harmonious relationship between humans and wildlife.

You can also watch ‘The Edge of Existence’, which is an incredible documentary describing the complexity of the human-wildlife conflict on the Western corridor of the Serengeti National Park. Although it focuses on the disputes found in this small region in Tanzania, it reflects an ongoing trend of human-wildlife conflict throughout the whole of Africa, and provides constructive alternatives to allow for a more harmonious living with our precious wildlife.

the extra mile

Help us go the extra mile. Each donation allows us to continue our mission of educating to empower, setting the hearts of the next generation of conservationists on fire. You can make a difference today – help us change the world by donating here.


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