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Humans vs. Wildlife: How Serious is the Race for Resources?

Tonight, in our continuing series on the competition for resources between humans and wildlife, these questions: How serious is it? Can a compromise be worked out? Voice of America English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard put those questions to Adam Henson, a program manager with the African Wildlife Foundation in Washington, who said “Human-wildlife conflict is one of the most serious threats facing conservation efforts in Africa today. Our mission is to work with the people of Africa to insure the wildlife and wildlands of Africa will endure forever” through strategies that create incentives for conservation and opportunities for people to earn a living.

He says the cause of the conflict is competition for resources between wildlife and people, such as water and grazing areas. Henson says the kind of conflict depends on the region. For example, in East Africa, lions and other large predators devastate livestock, whereas in Southern Africa, large elephant populations raid crops, destroy houses and sometimes kill people.

He says the way to deal with conflict is through prevention and mitigation. He says prevention involves improving livestock husbandry, and containing of livestock from predators such as lions. He describes mitigation as financial compensation for economic loss resulting from destructive wildlife behavior.

Henson says its not the role of the Africa Wildlife Foundation to promote or oppose sport hunting or other similar activities, but to promote “a wide range of economic activities that are derived from conservation and that create benefits for local people that can, in the end, sustain livelihoods and, most importantly, protect conservation of wildlife.”

Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!