HUMAN / WILDLIFE CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Jafuta Foundation - Community - Human / Wildlife conflict resolution - Zimbabwe

 

The Jafuta Foundation works with the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT) to assist with human / wildlife conflict in the Hwange West area and we assist Zimbabwe National Parks by maintaining and equipping boreholes to provide water for wildlife, thereby helping to prevent many animals from crossing into community areas.  Our aim with these projects is to help communities to protect themselves, their livestock and their crops, mainly by keeping wildlife in the protected areas allocated to them.

 

Community guardian patrols are carried out and animals, mainly lion and elephant, that have crossed into community areas are tracked.  Farmers with livestock and/or crops at risk are warned and attempts to herd the wild animals back to their designated area are done whenever safe to do so.  Patrols are too dangerous to perform at night, when some animals, especially lion, are active.  In these instances, we have adopted an ingenious approach of installing Foxlight predator lights.

 

Jafuta Foundation - Community - Human / Wildlife conflict resolution - predator lights - Zimbabwe

  

We were inspired to follow the wonderful solution devised by Richared Turere, a young Kenyan boy fascinated with electronics, who came up with an amazing solution to the constant threat of predatory wildlife faced by his Maasai community.  After noticing that lions were wary of flashlights, he created a solar powered flashing light which proved to be very effective, not only in scaring them off, but also in comforting the cattle with the light provided. Watch his inspirational TED talk to hear all about it.

 

Hwange West area map showing predator light locations.  Vic Falls in the upper left of the map and Zambezi river forming the northern boundary.
Hwange West area map showing predator light locations. Vic Falls in the upper left of the map and Zambezi river forming the northern boundary.

 

VFWT identified areas with repeated human / wildlife conflicts and in December 2016 we began deploying Foxlight predator lights created using Richard’s idea. These lights are solar powered and come on automatically in low light situations. The units are equipped with 9 lights which flash randomly in three colours – this randomness help to prevent wildlife from habituating to the lights.

 

We’ve deployed these lights in 25 locations and so far they have been 100% successful in deterring lion, hyaena and elephant from raiding livestock or crop fields.  Not only do they protect the livelihoods and security of villagers, but also significantly reduce the risk of human/wildlife conflict related deaths of both animals and rural dwellers.