ALERT plans to train and mobilise Community Guardians in the Matetsi Communal Area, Zimbabwe to protect livestock and crops against wildlife attacks. Livelihoods in this community are heavily dependent on farming and therefore reducing losses is key to human wildlife conflict mitigation. Trained Community Guardians use non-lethal methods such as construction of predator-proof livestock pens, tracking and scaring of predators and crop raiding elephants, early warning and reporting.
Living in close proximity to wildlife areas means that the Matetsi communities frequently suffer livestock losses to predators such as lions, leopards and jackals as well as crop losses from elephants raiding their fields. This has far reaching and detrimental effects on the 2500 families who rely on farming for food and to pay for school fees, essential commodities and healthcare. Some children in these communities even have to drop out of school so they can look after livestock.
By mobilising community guardians in the Matetsi Communal Area, ALERT will help to reduce human wildlife conflict to the benefit of both wildlife and people living in the area. Using various tried and tested non-lethal methods, trained Community Guardians help protect livestock and crops from wildlife to preserve livelihoods, ultimately uplifting communities.
As a result of efforts by Community Guardians, the Matetsi communities will be uplifted and standards of living will improve. In the long term, community attitudes towards wildlife (especially lions and elephants) and conservation in general will improve as vulnerability to threats from wildlife decreases.