Economic implication of human wildlife conflict in Lupande game management area - Mambwe district, eastern province.

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Chilembo, Robert Morgan
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The University of Zambia
Conflicts between humans and wildlife have occurred in the world since the dawn of humanity. These conflicts can cause damage or economic challenges due to both incidences of crop damage and the deaths of domestic animals, as well as human deaths and poaching. Therefore, the aim of the study was to estimate the economic loss to small-scale farmers and the government. Four objectives were used for the study: to estimate the economic value of damage in agriculture; to estimate the economic value related to problematic animals controlled by the state; to estimate direct costs associated with human-wildlife conflict management response strategies; and to assess the effectiveness of response strategies on human-wildlife conflict in Lupande Game Management Area. The following specific research questions formed the basis of this study to inaugurate the economic consequence: what is the estimated household annual economic value of damage in agriculture caused by wildlife?, what is the estimated economic value of the problematic animals controlled?, what are the associated direct costs involved in responding to human-wildlife conflict management strategies?, and how can the measures taken in responding to human-wildlife conflict be improved? Relevant literature was discussed in this research with the aim of establishing the gap between this study and other previous related studies. The research was based on pragmatism, where both ontological and epistemological orientations were used. Convenient sampling was used with key informants by administering a semi-structured interview guide. Purposive sampling was used in focus group discussions using the focus group discussion guide. The secondary raw data sets used were from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. The analysis used descriptive statistics, using averages, percentages, and totals to analyze quantitative data, while qualitative data was analyzed using content and thematic analysis. In the findings on damage in agriculture, it was established that economic loss was quite enormous, affecting farmers, with K180, 317.00 being the highest in the damage range of 25–50 percent. Regarding the estimation of economic value related to problematic animal control by killing, the government incurred revenue losses amounting to K 4,318,049.86. The findings show that more expenses on the direct costs associated with human-wildlife conflict management response strategies were incurred on the procurement of a vehicle, a Land Cruiser, in 2021 for easy transportation, which increased the fuel cost, as well as volunteers who were employed to aid in proficiency, which doubled the expense from the previous years, which stood at K771, 262.00 in 2019, K 558,228 in 2020, and K1, 225,655. On the other hand, it was established that other costs, such as erecting solar fences and chilli bombs, received less investment in direct costs in 2021, a situation that may have triggered an increase in human-wildlife conflict cases compared to the previous years of 2019 and 2020, when they received much attention. In order to effectively respond to human-wildlife conflict in the area, the findings showed that controlling conflict by killing problematic animals, using chilli bombs to scare away animals, and erecting solar fences in conflict hotspot areas was effective. Other measures established include enhanced education through sensitization, avoiding cultivation in animal corridors, improved construction of watch tower vantage points, and enhancement of the newly introduced smelly fences. In conclusion, it was established that the economic implications for small-scale farmers and revenue loss to the government through control by killing problematic animals were huge. Thus, there is a need for the government to enhance the construction of solar fences around field settlements and consider formulating a policy towards the revenue recovery from controlled animal trophies. For future research, it is recommended that a similar study be undertaken in all 36 game management areas in Zambia.
Thesis of Degree of Master of Science in Environmental and Natural Resource Management