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Involving communities in wildlife ranching in zimbabwe: a grass-roots initiative

Le Bel S., Mombeshora S., Goredema L., Mapuvire G., Jiri A.. 2013. In : Cain James W. (ed.), Marshal Jason P. (ed.). Proceedings of the IVth International Wildlife Management Congress : cooperative wildlife management across borders: learning in the face of change. Maryland : Wildlife Society, p. 53-63. International Wildlife Management Congress. 4, 2012-07-09/2012-07-12, Durban (Afrique du Sud).

We present the findings of a feasibility study on Commercial Communal Wildlife Ranching (CCWR) in selected semi-arid districts of Zimbabwe. The specific objectives of the study were to: (1) learn from past and on-going experiences in the sub-region; (2) conduct targeted field studies; and (3) identify potential income generating activities which are compatible with CCWR. The methodology involved the review of official documents and published literature on game ranching in Southern Africa. An assessment matrix with 8 components aided the exploration of seven districts followed by a selection of pilot sites where participatory rural appraisal methods were used. In these areas poverty is prevalent and livelihoods, based on dryland agriculture, are precarious; however, the areas are rich in wildlife. Legislative changes in the 1960s and 1970s in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe devolved custodial rights over wildlife to private, mostly white, landholders. Huge economic and conservation benefits have been derived from this, thus prompting current governments to extend game ranching to communal lands. As in South Africa, game ranching in Zimbabwe is mostly carried out by large scale commercial farmers - however, during in the 1990s, Ward 4 in Mbire district established Chivaraidze Game Ranch using the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) principles. People in study wards are keen to improve on their CAMPFIRE experiences by starting CCWR. They do however face financial, technical and institutional challenges.

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