Controversy between livestock and wildlife gets tougher with increased populations, land issues, growing food needs and agricultural development. But whilst Enduimet faces these concerns along with the rest of ‘developing Africa’, it’s striving to reduce the conflict by building a marketable future based on wildlife conservation and development. It’s a plausible and constructive idea, bringing opposing sides together, enriching the community and ensuring the survival of its natural legacy.
One of the biggest conflicts is that of ‘Livestock versus Wildlife’. In parts of Enduimet, livestock and wildlife have lived together for decades with little difficulty, but as land becomes scarce, more and more migratory corridors and dispersal areas are being sold off and cultivated.
Elephants migrating freely between Enduimet and Amboseli (in neighboring Kenya) have provided the longest and most advanced study of elephants in the wild, contributing to new finds and management strategies to safeguard their passage.
In 2009, 400 elephants were lost to drought, whilst 80% of their calves died. At the same time the Maasai lost 80% of their cattle. On the other hand livestock has turn fertile land into desert, with little hope of restoring it unless drastic measures are taken.
It brings a whole new set of issues to the table. It’s vital that wildlife can move up and down their traditional routes including dispersal areas for plains game. The solution lies in replacing the quantity of livestock with quality and managing shared grazing, whilst utilizing newly proven agricultural methods increasing production, both of which will simultaneously lessen environmental impact, preserve wildlife and increase income.
There’s no easy method of putting new strategies into action or changing mindsets; but specific guidelines through studies (shared across borders), empowerment through practical advice and instruction leading to positive results, will change the way Enduimet’s communities look at wildlife.
By Colleen Hogg
March, 2013 – Tanzania