Video – Human wildlife conflict
Conflict between local community farmers and wildlife is common in rural Africa, and the Tuli Game Reserve in Eastern Botswana is no different. Elephant may leave the reserve perimeter and damage crops and plantations, while predators may kill and threaten livestock. A porous boundary also results in increased poaching and other illegal activities inside the protected areas. This all leads to friction between the communities and conservationists.
As committed conservationists and ecotourism operators, we believe that the future of game reserves in Africa depends on solving these problems in a mutually beneficial way. In establishing long lasting and partnerships with the local communities that surround them. As a result, and with funding from the Timbo Afrika Foundation, we have committed to upgrading over 30 kms of our backline with a fully electrified game proof fence in an effort to forge this crucial partnership. This much needed upgrade will enforce the perimeter of the Central Tuli where the existing fence is in such a dilapidated condition that elephants and other game cross freely out of the reserve. The temptation of fresh drinking water and plantations is often sadly too much for them to resist.
In a historical agreement with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Botswana, we will join forces to ensure that the new fence provides the necessary barrier. As a token of our commitment, the department has donated much needed fencing supplies and has committed to support our work with local communities into the future. Our intention is to commence with phase 1 of the operation in January 2021 which would consist of ground preparations for the fence, especially in the areas of high density game movement. Phase 2 and 3 whereby the fence is extended is to commence as soon as possible. The speed and success of the operation depends on donations to the Timbo Afrika Foundation, and your commitment would be much appreciated. You can make a one-time gift or a periodic donation, which is tax deductible from the first euro deposited.https://timbo-afrika-foundation.org/
The local community of Mathathane village bordering the Tuli are our partners in Botswana. As is the norm in the frontier of this amazing country, conflict with wildlife is a regular occurrence. Elephant may raid vegetable gardens, and lion or other predators may leave the sanctuary of the reserve and kill livestock. As a result, there is often a feeling of animosity toward game and ambivalence toward conservation. In order to address this concern, TAE has identified the following strategy:
• To engage with community members to identify key concerns and meaningful solutions, specific to the Tuli.
• With funding generated from the Timbo Afrika Foundation network, we have committed to upgrading over 30 kms of the reserve boundary fence alongside the village. This to protect local farmers and villagers and to forge a long lasting partnership, and to benefit the great reserve.
• We have also co-funded the building of a children’s day care centre in the village. It was recognised that mothers required a safe and educational space where their children could be cared for during the day in order to be able to work and earn salaries. This is a fundamental issue in rural African communities.
• To identify and provide viable opportunities of benefit for local community members through employment, upiftment, eco-tourism ventures, educational programs or direct infrastructure development.
• To host educational activities within the reserve at our camps.
• To advise and support heritage tourism sites, such as Bushman rock art galleries and traditional village tours outside the reserve.
Looking ahead, despite the hurdles of the covid pandemic on our path, we remain is committed to find solutions in creating win-win scenarios between local communities and reserve operations in the Tuli area.