Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe

by African Lion & Environmental Research Trust
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe
Sponsor Community Guardians in Zimbabwe

ALERT’s work in Chizarira focuses on the protection of the resources of the surrounding communities. Chizarira is 1 910kmsurrounded by rural communities and development living subsistent lifestyles, growing their own crops during the rainy season and keeping livestock. 

Living so close to a National Park poses several challenges for the communities. Large herbivores such as elephant frequently migrate towards these areas where there is an abundant food source in the form of the villagers crops. 

Predators also predate on livestock in these areas and become accustomed to the easy pickings of these unattended livestock. 

There is a gap in Communication between the Guardians of these protected areas and the communities. ALERT has worked on better equipping villagers with equipment to deter the animals and attacks. Several Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation strategies have already been put into place in these communities this year with a vision to further develop each community to a point where there are no more cases of Human Wildlife Conflict recorded. 

ALERT is also monitoring the movement of several elephant and lion in and around Chizarira through GPS Tracking and getting a better understanding of the movement patterns of these animals. ALERT is also now able to inform communities when one of the collared animals approach their area in order for them to be prepared for the arrival of the animal.

By monitoring these animals and better equipping communities with the correct resources, ALERT is working at minimising the gap in communication between the Guardians of these areas and the Surrounding Communities. 

Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Community guardian at livestock holding facility
Community guardian at livestock holding facility

There is a communication gap between Protected Area guardians (Park managers and field rangers), and the villagers living in the communities surrounding the PA. 

We are working in the 1,910km2 Chizarira National Park which is surrounded by rural communities who live a subsistence lifestyle, growing crops in the wet season and keeping livestock, mainly goats and cattle.

Elephants from the park frequently move out of the unfenced park into the villagers to raid crops.  Lions too, move out of the park and predate on unattended livestock oe livestock not properly protected overnight in flimsy holding facilities..

Through our research programs on elephants and lions where we collar an individual in a group (herd or pride), we are able to warn villagers of possible incursions by these two species since the collar has a geofence function that warns us of a collared animal and nearing the park boundary.

Community guardians can be contacted by our research staff to warn villagers of possible human-wildlife conflict (HWC) problems.  In addition, they keep records of all HWC in the village wards which they work in.

Villagers who lose crops or livestock to wildlife are incredibly tolerant, but if wildlife conflict is not reduced, they are often driven to dealing with the problem themselves which could result in mass poisoning.  The Community guardian is therefore an important conservation link and we need more of them to help us deal with human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Community guardians are the interface between the rural farming Communities and the Protected Areas around which they live.   Wildlife in Protected Areas are under increasing threat due to human population expansion and poaching within the Protected Areas (P.A.)

Before the burgeoning human population, wildlife was free to move between P.A.`s along traditional animal paths that had been used for hundreds of years.  This movement allowed gene transfer, reduced population pressure and reduced social conflict and of course gave vegetation a chance to recover from animal browsing and grazing.

We are working at establishing the existence of traditional animal corridors between P.A.`s in our lion and elephant research where animals are collared with a GPS collar so that their movements can be tracked on a digital map.  We are also able to inform communities of the possible movement of wildlife into their areas so that they can protect their crops and livestock.

The community guardian, as the liaison person, is able to bring awareness to communities of the need to protect crops and livestock but also to help educate people for the needed to allow animals safe passage between P.A.`s and to keep the corridors open to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. 

The community guardian is chosen from the community that they will work in so that they are known to the community and are also trusted by the community.  This is important as there is often distrust between the community and the Protected Area authorities.

This project still needs additional funding before it can be expanded sufficiently to be totally effective.  ALERT staff frequently fill in the gap by carrying out the role that the community guardian has and we are slowly building up trust with the communities.  Recently we were asked to deal with a lioness that had killed cattle by capturing it.  We failed but fortunatately the lioness went back ino the park and safety. 

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Thank you to all who have identified with this project and have contributed to making sure it can continue.

We have little to report during the period since COVID has disrupted this program to a large degree.  However, be that as it may, we have still achieved part of our vision for this project in that we have been able to warn villagers of the likelihood of elephants moving from Chizarira National Park into the neighbouring villages so that they are able to take precautions such as putting bonfires around fields, having dogs with them and beating drums and old cans.

This warning system would normally be done by the Community Guardian, but as we are unable at this stage to reemploy one, we personally meet with the Chiefs and Village Heads and convey the information.

One collared elephant has moved from the park through the villages to Kariba Lake.  He has travelled over 300kms and we have been able to plot and monitor his movements and provide advance warning to the villages.

In addition to this we have put up mobile livestock holding pens for the protection of livestock against lions and spotted hyaenas.  This has worked well and as soon as we are back on track with a Community Guardian in place, we will begin to document raiding incidences so that we can obtain an idea of trends of attacks.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook


Dear Sponsors,

We will be putting this project on hold since incoming funding was low and insufficient for us to do justice to this important program.  We thank all who have so unselfishly donated funds to this project and for identifying with our needs.

A Community guardian is the interlink between the community and wildlife authorities.  This person collects data on human-wildlife conflict, checks out incidents, reports these incidents to us (ALERT) and we then try and mitigate wildlife predation incidents in such a way that the wildlife and the community is protected.  The guardian will talk with affected communities, find out why there have been incidences of stock killings by carnivores and make recommendations.  Frequently we find that villagers do not have adequate livestock-holding facilities, or do not put their livestock in pens at night, and if this is the case we give advice and material assistance if the villager is willing.

In the case of livestock predation by lions or spotted hyaena, ALERT erects predator-proof livestock holding pens in the conflict “hot-spots” or helps villagers build sturdier predator-proof traditional-style pens.

The Community guardian’s role is important but this person needs consistent support in order to maintain respect and credibility with the community in which he/she works.  At present, due to low funding and our own financial difficulties due to Covid, we will put this project on hold.

A total of $522.55 was raised out of a target of $6,600 for this project.  The funds so far raised has been used to buy a bicycle, a GPS, tape measure (to measure predator footprints), stationary, clipboards, cell phone airtime etc.  We will resurrect this project when finances improve but will continue to keep it viable by regularly meeting with the local government authority in charge of the village areas and the Chief of the area.

Finally we would like you to know that through your donations and support we were able to produce a working document entitled “Human-wildlife conflict in the Chizarira National Park buffer Communities: Status report and mitigation strategies”. The data for this document was obtained with the help of a Community Guardian and put together by the ALERT team.  Just recently the document was presented to all stakeholders in the area at a Rural District Council meeting.  Our mitigation strategies as recommended by us in the document are now being implemented. 


You can be proud and assured that your support has made a difference.

Attachments: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

African Lion & Environmental Research Trust

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lionsinafrica
Project Leader:
Stuart Armstrong
London, United Kingdom
$907 raised of $6,600 goal
21 donations
$5,693 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

African Lion & Environmental Research Trust has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.