Whose heritage? The state, local communities and game in South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) of eastern Zambia, 1890-2001.

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Kumwenda, Simon
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The University of Zambia
The study examines a history of conflicts between humans and wild animals (human-animal conflicts) and conflicts between humans and the government (human-state conflicts) in the South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) and the surrounding Lupande Game Management Area (LGMA) from 1890 to 2001. SLNP located in Mambwe District was in about 1830s inhabited by the Kunda people from the Democratic Republic of Congo whose socio-economic wellbeing depended on subsistence hunting and a bit of crop cultivation. Their utilisation of wildlife resources before colonial era conflicted with the interests of wild animals. This began human animal conflicts (HACs). It is argued in this study that the Kunda’s access and control over natural resources, including game, was undermined with the imposition of colonial conservation policies in 1890. The study found that the local people’s culture, traditions and taboos helped them to better use wildlife resources than in the colonial era. It is also argued in this study that the birth of the SLNP in 1971 and the creation of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) in 1998 both negatively impacted the wellbeing of the Kunda. The study further found that even though in the 1980s the local people were co-opted into wildlife operations through community based conservation programmes, conflicts did not abate. The study argued that although conservation policies brought jobs and markets to the local people for their agricultural merchandise and crafts, the majority had their wellbeing undermined. Conservation laws to a greater extent benefited the government through revenue collection. Finally, the study found that centralisation of wildlife resource management and utilisation by the government clearly shows that SLNP is the state’s heritage and that it was the centre of conflicts.
Human-animal relationships. , Wildlife conservation. , Wildlife management.