With Butterflies & Warriors

David Chancellor

Across Africa, growing populations and deepening poverty have intensified the battle between man and animals for the same land and environmental resources. Increasingly, animals are pushed into smaller pockets of wilderness, their migration routes closed off and their water supplies dammed and diverted elsewhere for other purposes such as crop irrigation. Illegal hunting and poaching has decimated their numbers. At the same time, rural farmers have learned to mistrust wildlife, killing those animals which they see as invading their land. If wildlife conservation is to succeed at all, it is imperative to find a way for man and animal to coexist in harmony, sustainably. Its also crucially important that any income generated from the wildlife is shared with the communities who may face financial hardship as result of the destruction of crops by elephant, death of livestock by leopard and lion, and family members killed or maimed by all three. Communities must be given the options for incentives to conserve, rather than poach. We are, after all, asking pastoralist communities who have not historically benefited from the wildlife that they live alongside, to live in harmony with it, rather than eradicate it in favour of livestock because this is what supports their survival – not the wildlife.