Posted on June 30th, 2012

Back to School – Wildlife Management

In Africa, private land ownership often impedes the free roam of many wildlife species from one protected area to another. In Southern Africa, specifically in Zambia, there have been many attempts at community-based wildlife management. In this model, there is revenue sharing of profits from industry-based tourism and donations so that those private land-owners do not feel the need to hunt or cull the herds of the transient animals. There has been an accompanying shift from traditional approaches to wildlife management to that of a more westernized version, where the long-term value of natural resources is compassionately considered over the short-term gain from harvesting the animals.

In a study titled the Importance of GIS to Community-based Management of Wildlife: Lessons from Zambia written by Dale Lewis and the Nyamaluma Community-based Research and Training Centre in Zambia, they used GIS to assess national parks, game management areas and private land dispersion in the country. He applied a bottom-up approach to his ADMADE (Administrative Management Design) study to encourage Zambians to become stakeholders in the future of conservation and wildlife management by relying on the economics of tourism and international interest in preservation ideals. The study sought to establish boundaries of the chieftaincies that fell within game management areas, resolve disputes over settled and cultivated areas, account for the distribution of wildlife populations, and establish locations of illegal use and illegal activities within and near the protected areas.


kafue_wv2_5_08_2010_ENHANCED

Kafue National Park in Zambia is over 22,000 sqkm, or roughly the size of Massachusetts. Wildlife management practices are made far easier with the help of GIS. This 50-cm natural color image is an overview of the serenity that resides in the park, courtesy of DigitalGlobe and Photo Enhanced by Apollo Mapping. Captured May 8th, 2010 by WorldView-2.

 

Working together with various Chiefs, Lewis was able to establish which constituencies had the most adverse effects on wildlife populations. Through the use of GIS and other various forms of data collection, the Chiefs were able to see the effects of their practices, such as nighttime warthog hunting leading to the depletion of numbers; the extent of tree loss by wasteful cutting from commercial loggers; and the growth of neighboring communities’ impacts on restricting herd migrations. Ultimately, this led to the desire to change practices to not only provide for future economic needs, but also to preserve their way of life in this region of the country. By teaching village scouts how to use GIS, the local residents are more aware of the impact of their land and wildlife management practices and are able to provide for a more sustainable way of life.

Justin Harmon

Staff Writer

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