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Help mitigate Human Wildlife Conflict in Zimbabwe

by African Lion & Environmental Research Trust
Help mitigate Human Wildlife Conflict in Zimbabwe
Meeting with affected villagers
Meeting with affected villagers

Communities surrounding the larger unfenced Zimbabwean National Parks are frequently affected by lions and spotted hyena that come from the park and kill livestock in the villages.  Some villagers will take retaliatory action and poison or set snares to kill the predator killing livestock.

ALERT recently received reports of lions killing cattle in the Binga area in the north of Zimbabwe.  Because ALERT is carrying out research on lions and elephants in Chizarira National Park (2,000km2) nearby the affected area, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and the Binga Rural District Council (RDC) contacted us to help mitigate the situation.  Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, a small meeting was called by ALERT, ZPWMA and RDC with the affected Community.

Our ALERT researcher and an attachment, spoke at the meeting and called upon villagers to take responsibility for their livestock.  Good husbandry and the building of proper predator-proof holding pens and ensuring that livestock is safely inside at night, goes a long way to ensuring that predators do not kill the livestock.  Most holding pens are constructed of flimsy poles that are low and with large spaces between uprights so that predator see the livestock and can easily enter. In some cases the cattle are not put in pens at night.

After the meeting ALERT donated a US$750 mobile enclosure that is made of opaque plastic sheeting.  This enclosure is erected on an old field site near a homestead.  The confined cattle cannot be seen by predators as they perceive the facility as a solid obstacle.  We have had great success with this type of holding pen with no livestock losses when confined at night. Added to this protection is the fact that the confined cattle produce natural nutrients that are trampled into the soil and just before the next rainy season, the holding pen is taken down and crops planted in the nutrient rich soils. Crops grown in this site produce much higher yields than with artificial fertilizes - and it is all organic. 

This is an excellent mitigation method where villagers see that their livestock are protected AND they do not have to purchase costly and often harmful fertilizers to get bumper, healthy organically-grown crops.

ALERT is still using the flashing light method on locally built pens and this has also been very successful in deterring predators at night. We are still raising funds for this mitigation method since it is far cheaper than the mobile pens. Research is being carried out on best mitigation methods, but our main purpose is to help the impoverished Communities that face wildlife threats daily. By so doing we also ensure that there is no reason to kill the predators that come from the parks for an easy meal.

Holding pen site preparation
Holding pen site preparation
Holding pen construction, inside view
Holding pen construction, inside view
Completed holding pen and posing!
Completed holding pen and posing!
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A big thank you must go out to our donors, we have raised enough money for one set of LED lights. We will be purchasing these lights from South Africa.

Recently there have been no livestock depredation cases recorded in the Matetsi Ward. 4, in Victoria Falls. There were 4 livestock (cattle) losses to lions recorded in October in the area. All four of the attacks took place during the day in the rangeland. Which is showing the usefulness and need of the LED lights as no livestock have been attacked in their pens as these are protected with the LED flashing lights.

Thank you again to our donors we can now protect one more livestock holding pen. 

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ALERTs Human-wildlife conflict mitigation in Matetsi ward continued as usual. Some recent figures from the team show the following livestock losses to leopard, hyena and lion, (8 cattle, 8 goats, 2 donkeys, 2 dogs and 1 pig).

Some of our lit homesteads had lions visiting them but experienced no attacks at the cattle kraals. Only one of the lit homesteads had their pig killed by lions at night. This is possible because their pigsty does not have any lights and is further away from the lit kraal. The lions also avoided using the route which goes close to the kraal hence no images were obtained from our camera trap.  3 cattle and 8 goats which are part of the above records were lost during the night in Masikili village.

The loss occurred in the section of the village where no single homestead has lights installed on any of the kraals. In terms of diversity of predators’ woodlands village seemed to have suffered the most. The village members lost one cattle to a clan of hyenas at dawn when they were being taken back to the kraal. They also lost two dogs to a leopard. The remaining 4 cattle which were recorded occurred in the rangeland during the daytime when cattle were left to free-range and were caused by lions.

So we would like to thank our donors for their support and help, the money raised recently;y in the Little by Little campaign will help ALERT expand this project. We can now fully light up another homestead and that is thanks to you, so thank you we look forward to taking this project further with you alongsie us.

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Organization Information

African Lion & Environmental Research Trust

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lionsinafrica
Project Leader:
Stuart Armstrong
London, United Kingdom
$138 raised of $5,000 goal
4 donations
$4,862 to go
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