The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust in collaboration with the Oxford Wildlife Conservation Unit (WildCru) based in Hwange National Park, have been liaising on a project together with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and the local rural communities near Victoria Falls. Beginning in 2010 the Trust has been conducting a survey in the rural community in which a local researcher has been evaluating all human wildlife conflict incidents. A 24 hour conflict hotline has been initiated with a response unit that deploys to reported conflicts in which the research team respond to quantify any damage as well as to evaluate any mitigation techniques used to deter the animal.
In 2016 the Trust established the Community Guardian program, in which we employ local community members who are trained to protect community livestock and villages from wildlife and work to mitigate wildlife coming into the communities. The guardians track any collared animals and are able to pre-warn community members in advance of possible conflict. The Guardians utilize mitigation such as chili guns for crop raiding elephant and vuvuzelas with lions to aggressively move animals out of the rural villages.
Predator Proof Mobile Bomas
In 2017, the Trust started working with the community to improve some of the enclosures (bomas) that livestock are put in at night for protection from carnivores. We have since installed 5 ‘Mobile Bomas’ in high carnivore-conflict areas in the rural communities surrounding Victoria Falls. These predator proof bomas are made of PVC plastic sheeting, are easily deployed and moved, and can protect up to 250 head of cattle overnight from predators. By placing these bomas in crop fields, the soil fertility also improves.
In just one year since first installing ‘Mobile bomas’ in the community areas, there has not been a single head of livestock killed by predators at night inside the boma, and there has been an increase in both yield and health of the crops which most rural farmers depend of for their food supply. The cropping yields have increased up to 200% in some areas and most farmers have maintained an increased yield for up to three years after the mobile bomas were used in their fields.
You can help us reduce human-predator conflict by donating funds to purchase a predator-proof mobile boma. Each mobile boma costs approx. USD $3,500 to install.
Sponsor a Predator-Proof Mobile Boma.
Since first installing ‘Mobile bomas’ in early 2017, there have been no livestock killed by predators at night from within a boma.
Conservation Education: Translating knowledge to change.
Here at the Trust, we believe that the education of wildlife conservation from a young age is critical, so that communities can begin to see the economic benefit of wildlife and for us to decrease the number of animals being poached and poisoned. Our Conservation Education Program teaches children from local and rural communities about wildlife conservation and provides them with an opportunity to interact with some of the wildlife ambassadors that the Trust currently looks after. Read more about our Conservation Education Program.