For decades, the conventional conservation policies seem to have conferred higher priority to wildlife over people & communities in the debate over Human-Environment-Animal conflicts. Over time, policies have become more stringent and park boundaries have progressively expanded, trying hard to keep up with the overall intent of conservation and as response to the ever-escalating threats. Yet, the problem seems far from being contained. In-fact the threats emanating from human activity seem to have exponentially increased with the tightening of these rules & regulations. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment document points out that over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history. In contrast, for example, giraffe population has seen a 38% decline in its numbers since 1985, falling from about 157,000 to 97,500 recently.
If we must save our ever-thinning list of wildlife population around the world, conservation policies are absolutely relevant and essential, today more than ever. However, the traditional model of keeping the people and local communities out of the conservation dialogue does not work, especially in densely populated, low- income countries- where human demands on land are much greater. Particularly in countries like Tanzania where about 67% of the population earns their primary income from land, animal husbandry, forests and agriculture, this conventional approach has already proved detrimental towards conservation efforts. Instead, what is needed, is an approach that finds ways to include people and communities in this dialogue of co-existence.
Human-Environment-Animal conflicts manifest itself in the form of poaching, deforestation, crop damage, loss of lives, livestock loss, spread of diseases and the rise of political shenanigans around protected areas, and that benefits no-one!
We believe that the degradation of biodiversity and increase in poverty levels are inter-linked topics that need to be tackled together, in a holistic manner. Which is why, at Wild Plains foods, we have taken a community- based approach towards conservation. Together with the Jane Goodall Institute-Tanzania, we are reaching out to the communities in Tanzania, particularly the ones in close vicinity of the protected parks and habitats. We are engaging with the community heads and the people with a single-minded focus to listen, learn and understand the every-day problems and challenges they face to make a living.
When you #ChooseForImpact, you ensure that together, we take this dialogue further and find a meaningful and sustainable resolution to Human-Environment-Animal conflicts.