The hidden costs of Human-Wildlife conflict in Mukungule Game Management Area,Mpika District,Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Muyoma, Philip James
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Zambia
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) has presented serious challenges to people living in Mukungule Game Management Area (GMA). Located next to the North Luangwa National Park (NLNP), the people living in the GMA have over the years experienced HWC. Many of their livelihood activities usually come in contact with wildlife. The major livelihood activities for the local people are farming and charcoal production. Both these activities involve the clearing of land leading to massive encroachments of areas which are predominantly habitats for wildlife. Furthermore, the perceived increased in wildlife populations due to reduced poaching has led to a lot of wildlife leaving the Park into the GMA, where human activities are allowed. The aim of the study was to examine the nature of human-wildlife conflict and their subsequent hidden costs in Mukungule GMA, northern Zambia. Four objectives were set for the study, these were; determine the main type of HWC that occur within the study area, investigate factors leading to conflict, identify the hidden costs associated with HWC within the study area and to explore the distribution of hidden costs among community members. By using questionnaire surveys, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and field observations, the study examined the nature of Human-wildlife Conflict and their subsequent hidden costs on the affected communities living in the GMA. The study area was divided into three clusters where a sample of 124 households was conveniently sampled for the household survey. Three FGDs were conducted, one in each cluster, and three key informant interviews were conducted in each cluster. Furthermore, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in each cluster. The study shows that expansion of agricultural activities has led to an increase in humans encountering wildlife, leading to HWC. Elephants, bush pigs and monkeys are the most problematic animals. Crop raiding was found to be the most common form of conflict, largely because faming is widely practiced and is the major economic activity in the area. The hidden costs of conflict identified were; increased exposure to mosquitoes, reduced incomes, food insecurity, school dropouts and opportunity costs. The study recommended that in order to address HWC there is need to, introduce alternative livelihood sources such as bee keeping alongside there farming activities, growing crops that are unpalatable to wildlife in areas that are prone to crop raiding, while growing crops for consumption near their homesteads and strengthen the enforcement of land use plans of the GMA to ensure that they are followed strictly by all members of the community. This will help to safe guard crops as agriculture will be concentrated away from known HWC hot spots.
Wildlife Consevation-Mpika,Zambia , Preservation of Wildlife-Mpika,Zambia , Human-Wildlife conflict-Mpika,Zambia