Manage Wildlife Resources for the Benefit of all

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There is no doubt that Africa remains one of the most natural resource-rich continent in the world. In the wake of competition for these resources, it is imperative that biodiversity – wildlife, in particular, is preserved for posterity. To manage these resources implies that governments, civil society and individuals must come together and ensure that the resources are used wisely so that the resource base (the natural environment) stays healthy and maximum returns are generated without negative impacts.

In doing so, the ideal situation would be the application of innovation in the management and conservation of wildlife processes in Africa. By comparative analysis, Africa’s human population is growing, and naturally, puts pressure and competition on the environment and available natural resources upon which community livelihoods are dependent.

It is in the nature of man that when confronted with an economic crisis and enticing markets, for instance, the exploitation of natural resources including wildlife – particularly the charismatic species such as the elephant, buffalo, rhino and other species, become primary targets. African Wildlife Foundation has stated that four-hundred and fifteen thousand elephant population is native to thirty-seven African countries. However, they face the greatest risk of being poached. Elephants carry their calves for twenty-two months. Cows usually bear only one calf every three to six years. Their regeneration rate averages five to six percent annually, compared to eight to nine percent poaching rates currently obtaining in Africa. This results in a net loss in population numbers and therefore creates an imbalance in the ecosystem. Thus, elephants are threatened with extinction if the current high rate of poaching continues unabated.

White rhino population in the continent according to WWF is approximately twenty-thousand and five-thousand for black rhino found in Africa with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya having the highest concentration. In the case of Zimbabwe, the highly and effectively managed Save Valley Conservancy top the list in terms of rhino conservation and management – and thanks to strict sustainable conservation by the twenty-two investors who in their wisdom in1992, pooled and put together their resources and created Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe which is the biggest conservancy in Africa. The Conservancy is very rich in wildlife, diverse plant species, and amazing panoramic views of the richest ecosystems that the world has never known. The conservancy adjoins with the gigantic Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas involving South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park.

Rhino is primarily targeted for some strange misconception of medicinal properties. The demand sprung from a misconception that rhino horn has medicinal value especially the rhino horn keratin, the same substance of our hair and fingernails – which in terms of science, do not work in the manner believed and portrayed in consumer markets of those products. Demand for this useless product has been driving up illegal trade in rhino horns for ill-conceived reasons – and therefore causing illegal poaching of this beautiful charismatic creature.

It is important that governments put their maximum efforts in conserving wildlife. At the centre of this process, is planning and putting in place sustainable conservation measures that involve local communities. The starting point would be to broaden the conservancy models that work inclusively, and the examples presented by Namibia and Zimbabwe’s Save Valley Conservancy, are great benchmarks.

Community awareness is key especially on the value of wildlife if successful conservation of wildlife is to be achieved. Additionally, there should be a demonstration of benefits to communities and this can best be attained by creating market-based conservation that gives emphasis on direct linkages between conservation results and economic returns. More importantly, those conservancy projects that are already in existence such as Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe, should be preserved and supported in terms of government policy so that they continue to be the fulcrum supporting the environmental resource base on which wildlife lives and depend on integrally. Essentially, balancing the state of the ecosystem back to its full health and potential productivity is key to sustainability. To achieve these, some key primary aspects are required and urgent action is important.

One of the interventions is to immediately get the policy right in place, ensure that communities living adjacent to conservation areas respect the integrity of wildlife habitats – hence encroachment into wildlife areas should be restricted and or prohibited at all cost. And governments and the international community should commit to supporting the maintenance of pristine flora and fauna in existing and newly created conservancies, over and above already designated wildlife conservation areas. Financing expansion of the conservation projects and capacity building of communities and officials who manage these projects is important to increase the conservation base and sustainability of the projects.

It is important to note that wildlife resources should be actively used in an innovative, sustainable and equitable manner to enable rural communities to leverage wildlife to transform tourism development. Wildlife anchors tourism development and has global comparative advantages in terms of its downstream industries that are supported by wildlife. Coupled to this, is the proposition to come up with a cocktail of incentives that facilitate wildlife conservation within communities and ultimately, the empowerment of the people to manage their resources to generate significant returns while ensuring the long-term health of the resource base – the natural environment.

Dr. Darlington Muzeza is a  Member of the African Tourism Board

 

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Knowledge, Experience and Attributes: I have lectured at tertiary (colleges), secondary and primary school levels; Passionate about imparting knowledge, skills and adaptive management as fundamental strategies to improving programs and its associated impact on communities in terms of development. Experienced in transboundary biodiversity governance, conservation and natural resource management; communities’ livelihoods and social ecology, conflict management and resolution. I have proven ability to develop concepts and I am a strategic planner with ability to promoting creative thinking while taking into account environmental sensitivities; I have passion in the fields of community development, governance, crisis and risk transformation among communities including management of social relationships; A strategic thinker with a developed capacity to build and convey the “big picture” as a team player; Excellent research skills, with strong political judgment; Proven ability to negotiate, challenge and confront issues, spot both risks and opportunities, brokering solutions to achieve goals; And have the capacity to negotiate bilateral and multilateral agreements at inter-governmental, non-governmental levels and can mobilise communities to secure broad-based support and participation of communities in programmes and projects. I have the capacity to undertake monitoring and evaluation including Environmental Impact Assessment compliance processes and I have done so as part of the Zimbabwe UNESCO National Committee investigation in Mana Pools National Park. Immense supervisory abilities and I supervised the Visitor Exit Survey (2015-2016) for Zimbabwe; I have experience in management of national projects and can lead stakeholder teams in project formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; Knowledgeable in sustainable development issues, international relations and diplomacy with ability to provide strategic advisory services and manage lobbies at local and global levels to raise profiles of strategic issues and brands; Well-versed in sustainable tourism development planning; Experienced in concepts development; advocacy and community mobilization; Worked tirelessly for my principals in relation to tourism development at sub-regional and international institutions like the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA), the African Union and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) regarding tourism policy consummation, institutionalization and programs development; Served for five years as a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Technical Advisory Committee Member on HIV/AIDS, Orphans and Vulnerable Children and Youth issues from 2007-2011; Have the ability to approach issues through a systems-thinking lens in a creative way; Proven experience with cross-cultural team capacity building, strong mentoring and evaluation skills; Have the ability to multi-tasking, prioritizing, pay simultaneous attention to detail, uphold quality of work and capable of problem-solving. Experienced in teamwork and understanding of the importance of effective communications for effective coordination and functioning of teams and able also to inspire and motivate others while being accountable. Well-developed presentation and representational skills appropriate for diverse audiences, including the ability to make and win arguments. I am able to network with stakeholders at different levels, provide leadership and can work independently in multicultural and multidisciplinary settings with a proven record to work under pressure, cope with and manage competing demands, meeting deadlines and adjusting priorities. Doctor of Technology (DTech) Environmental Health (Graduated on 22 September 2013); Faculty of Applied Sciences, Department of Environmental and Occupational Studies, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa (period of study: 2010-2013). Doctoral research thesis examined and passed: The Impact of Institutions of Governance on Communities’ Livelihoods and Sustainable Conservation in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park: The study of Makuleke and Sengwe Communities. Concentration of applied Doctoral Degree research areas covered: Transboundary conservation practices, management, challenges and resource governance; Political ecology and communities’ livelihoods analysis; Tourism development and poverty alleviation; Conservation policy analysis; Conservancy typology and integrative local development; Rural development and natural resource conflict management and resolution; Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM); Sustainable conservation and management and tourism development for sustainable local livelihood support. Thesis Proffered: A Synergistic Transfrontier Governance Framework; Participatory Biodiversity Decision-Making Model and an Integrative Amalgam of Sustainable Natural Resource Utilization Framework focusing on tourism development for sustainable livelihoods among transfrontier conservation communities.. 2. Master of Science Degree in Social Ecology passed with Merit: (August 2007); Centre for Applied Social Science (CASS), Awarded a Master’s Degree with Merit: University of Zimbabwe, the Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2005-2007). Master Degree research dissertation examined and passed: Investigation into Legislative and Executive Environmental Representation in Harare: The case studies of Mbare and Whitecliff. Concentration of Master Degree taught courses covered and passed: Population and Development; Ecological Disaster Management; Human Ecology; Research Methods and Tools for Ecological Analysis; Rural Livelihoods Strategies and Ecology; Natural Resource Policy Analysis; Institutional Aspects of Natural Resource Management; Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in Natural Resource Use and Environmental Management and Protection. 3. Bachelor of Science in Politics and Administration-Honours Degree (2003); Awarded a Degree with an Upper Second Division or 2.1 Degree Classification: University of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2000-2003). 4. Diploma in Personnel Management (Awarded a Diploma with Credit); Institute of Personnel Management of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (period of study: 2004-2005). 5. Certificate of learning on Conservation Awareness; Zimbabwe National Conservation Trust, Republic of Zimbabwe (1999). 6. Certificate (special short course training) of learning on Tourism Management and Development for African Countries; China Ministry of Commerce and China National Tourism Trading and Service Corporation, Beijing, Republic of China (period of short course study: November to December 2009). 7. Certificate of learning on National Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account; Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA): RETOSA and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Training Program, Republic of Zimbabwe (2011). 8. Certificate of learning on National Tourism Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account; Regional Tourism Organization for Southern Africa (RETOSA): RETOSA and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Training Program, Republic of Mauritius (2014). 9. Certificate of learning on Basic Counseling and Communication; University of Zimbabwe in collaboration with the National Aids Coordinating Program: Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the United Nations Children’s Fund, Republic of Zimbabwe (2002). 10. Certificate in Intermediate Course in Ms Word, Ms Excel and PowerPoint; Computer Centre, University of Zimbabwe, Republic of Zimbabwe (2003). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe and writes in his personal capacity. [email protected] or +263775846100