Bushlife Safaris June 9, 2023

Reducing Human-Wildlife Conflict

What is Human-Wildlife Conflict?

Human-wildlife conflict refers to the negative interactions and conflicts that arise between humans and wildlife when their interests and activities overlap. It occurs when wildlife species come into close proximity with human settlements, agricultural areas, or infrastructure, leading to detrimental consequences for both humans and wildlife.

Human-wildlife conflict is a significant problem for several reasons:

Livelihood and Food Security: Wildlife can cause damage to crops, livestock, and agricultural infrastructure, resulting in economic losses for farmers and communities. For people dependent on agriculture or livestock for their livelihoods, such conflicts can threaten their food security and income.

Threats to Human Safety: In some cases, wildlife species can pose direct threats to human safety. Predatory animals, such as lions, leopards, or crocodiles, may attack humans, leading to injuries or even fatalities. Elephants can also cause accidents or damage property when they venture into human-populated areas.

Conservation Challenges: Human-wildlife conflict can create negative perceptions towards wildlife, leading to retaliatory killings or illegal hunting of problematic species. This can pose a significant threat to wildlife conservation efforts and biodiversity preservation.

Disruption of Ecosystem Balance: Human-wildlife conflict can disturb the delicate balance of ecosystems. Overexploitation of resources, such as killing predators or disrupting natural habitats, can have cascading effects on other species and the overall ecosystem health.

What are we doing to minimise Human-Wildlife Conflict?

Addressing human-wildlife conflict requires a comprehensive approach. As part of the Utariri Programme, Bushlife Safaris are working on these strategies to minimise the conflict:

1. Promoting community-based conservation initiatives that involve local stakeholders in decision-making processes.

Working with the villagers, wildlife committees have been put together in the areas that we are operating in with the Utariri programme. These committees send reports of wildlife in the area to our Bushlife Support Unit so decisions can be made on how best to handle the conflict.

2. Implementing preventive measures like the use of deterrents, fencing, or sound devices to keep wildlife away from human settlements and agricultural areas.

 Sophie, our community manager, has been teaching villagers on how to make chili bricks to deter elephants.  A combination of chili powder, used engine oil, cow dung, and dry grass are mixed together to create bricks, which, when ignited, produce smoke that effectively deters elephants. This method has been tested and proven successful. 

3. Educating and raising awareness among local communities about wildlife behaviour, conflict mitigation techniques, and the importance of coexistence.

 As part of our ongoing educational efforts, we have taken a significant stride by introducing visual learning into our program. Recently, we had the opportunity to showcase wildlife documentaries to rural schools located on the outskirts of the Mana southern boundary—a new initiative in this region.

These wildlife documentaries provided valuable insights into animal territories, social behaviour, breeding patterns, and dominance within the animal kingdom. Following the documentary screenings, we conducted question and answer sessions that focused on the content watched. We shared knowledge with the students regarding the reasons behind animals spreading into human spaces, shown through the films with hyenas, lions, leopards, and hippos engaging in fights. We explained the underlying causes of such confrontations, including territorial disputes. The arrival and presence of hyenas and other predators in communities often stem from territorial conflicts, resulting in the weaker animals seeking new habitats.

We have found that this form of visual learning is highly effective, as students are able to witness and retain information. As a result, a deeper understanding of Human-Wildlife Conflict is now accessible to everyone involved in the educational process.

Back to top of page