The 2023 calendar year has been non-stop for the Human-Wildlife Coexistence Programme (HWCP). Operations have extended from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, Drakensberg, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, and back up to Zululand.
Over the past 12 months the programme has focused on training staff, equipping rangers, and engaging effectively with stakeholders across the region on critical topics relating to human-wildlife conflict, with the ultimate goal of aiming to find mechanisms to build coexistence for a thriving environment and thriving people.
Towards this goal, the Human-Wildlife Coexistence Programme has been very active in the field with some key highlights include:
- 302 wildlife or potential human-wildlife conflict observations made between January and November 2023.
- Through these observations, 17 dead livestock have been observed and reported to local leadership and livestock owners.
- 23 incidents of fence damage have been timeously reported to local reserve managers to support faster fence repair.
- 74 snares have been deactivated from the field and 1 snared cow found alive and the incident reported to local leadership to save the animal.
In collaboration with our Vulture Conservation Programme we have:
- Responded to and decontaminated poison from 10 incidents in 2023, with the sad discovery of 54 poisoned and killed Critically Endangered African White-backed Vultures.
In our proactive measures to improve awareness, training and engagement with communities, the HWCP has supported with:
- Poison Response Training of 20 rangers.
- Provided Poison Awareness workshops to over 100 participants.
The Human-Wildlife Coexistence team has also provided a platform for community leaders and livestock owners adjacent to protected areas in Zululand to engage with park management on topics of human-wildlife conflict. During these workshops, more than 140 livestock owners and community leaders were given opportunity to discuss their challenges with respective park management, as well as be presented with opportunities for improved livestock husbandry and to discuss human-wildlife conflict avoidance measures, such as the importance of good quality park and kraal fencing.
Lastly, we are very excited about a new collaboration that has developed with partners in community conservation around Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. More than 10 organisations have committed to work more closely together moving forward, for the betterment of community development and biodiversity conservation in the region. We are looking forward to sharing more with you on this exciting initiative in 2024.