By Dr Norman Monks - Director Research and Conservation
Zambezi National Park upstream from Victoria Falls, is an unfenced National Park which has Communities along the boundaries living in areas where traditionally wildlife used to move. Chizarira National Park on the Zambezi Escarpment is also unfenced and wildlife from the park enters the Communal Lands along traditional wildlife corridors and in so doing frequently kill livestock and destroys crops.
ALERT is keen toThe affected Communities identify with people from within the community more than an outside person and buy into mitigation measures in a The Community guardians will be employed from the Community and will be the interface between the Protected Area Authorities and villagers. They will report wildlife conflict, prevent retaliatory killings and keep records of all human-wildlife conflict incidents so that we (ALERT) can focus on hot-spot areas to assist in mitigatory measures that help the community and at the same time protect the wildlife.
During the period being reported upon, little progress has been made due to the Covid-19 epidemic, financial constraints and lockdowns. The human-wildlife conflict problem though has not gone away; in fact it has probably worsened as villagers are affected financially and are forced to deal with conflicts in a way that is often lethal to the wildlife.
ALERT continues to service and erect predator-proof holding pens despite the Covid-19 situation. Outside of Zambezi National Park livestock holding pens are protected using flashing LED lights, whilst around Chizarira National Park mobile predator-proof pens have been erected. Instead of the Community guardian ALERT staff, (mainly researchers) are doing the work that the guardian would normally do. By having Community Guardians employed from the communities, the Community buys in to the protective measures and is able to feel more in control of their situation.
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