Living with Wildlife

Feathers in our hats, skins on our backs, poisons for our arrows, shells to eat from, horns to drink from, furs to sleep on! Animals prance and prowl through our poetry, live in our legends, brighten and frighten our children’s stories. We eat their flesh, their eggs, their honey, drink their milk and blood. Wildlife gives us shelter, warmth, money, food, medicine and inspiration - and yet living with wildlife is not always easy and for many African communities conflict between humans and animals is a serious problem.

Why does this conflict happen? Africa is 30 million square kilometres in size, however only a small proportion – 7% - is protected. This means that it has been set aside for use in a way which does not destroy the wildlife living there. Although to humans who live on their boundaries, parks and reserves seem enormous, they are not enough space to allow many of Africa’s most fascinating species such as lions and elephants to survive.

Where you live was once wilderness. In Africa, 176 animal species have gone extinct in the last 600 years. The dodo, the quagga, the bluebuck and the Cape Verde giant skink are no more and will never be again. 1,330 animal species in Africa are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss, too much hunting, and pollution.elephant Some people feel great sympathy for the animals suffering from these threats, especially those creatures which care for their own kind the same way we do. African Wild Dogs are tender with their babies. Sisters and brothers nurture each other, babysitting, teaching and feeding their younger sibs. Elephants live in sisterhood, led by a female elder, travelling great distances to follow the rains. Life becomes difficult for these animals when they find people living and working in the lands they used to roam.

Seeing things from an animal’s point of view can be hard if you are struggling day in, day out, to keep your family fed and well. lionThe terror and nuisance of large, dangerous predators, marauding baboons, crop-raiding elephants, poisonous snakes and many other wildlife nightmares cannot be overstated. Yet many people believe that it is better to find ways of living safely and happily alongside wildlife than destroying it altogether. This is because wildlife is so valuable to humans in so many ways. Half of all our medicines and all our food comes directly from plants and animals. Animals and plants together make up the complicated ecosystems upon which all life depends. Many people feel that wild animals are part of African’s wealth. Visitors to Africa are astounded by the creatures that still survive here, and pay money to see it – in many other parts of the world, wildlife has all but disappeared.

This topic looks at the how’s and whys of living with wildlife.

Gorillas are worth US$22 Million a year to Uganda…..Alive

Living with Wildlife


Excerpts from Africa Our Home
Ecosystems: Living cathedrals {page 32-33}
Excerpts from Africa Our Home How many lions are enough? Genes and Populations  {page 14-15}
Excerpts from Africa Our Home Big dog saves big cat: Living with Predators {page 18-19}
Excerpts from Africa Our Home From hunt to harvest: Sustainable Use of Wildlife  {pages 20-25}


PACE Action Sheets
Human Wildlife Conflict PACE Action Sheets Protecting against primates
PACE Action Sheets Monitoring human wildlife conflict PACE Action Sheets Protecting livestock against predators
PACE Action Sheets Reducing crop raiding by elephants PACE Action Sheets Elephant dung paper
PACE Action Sheets Chilli planting guide    




PACE Directory
To get further details of helpful organisations listed in the Action Sheets download the PACE Directory.

The wildlife films are available from PACE The following are the sections of the DVD which are applicable to this topic:

LIVING WITH ELEPHANTS - Bill Woodley Mount Kenya Trust, Kenya
Movie THE ELEPHANT CHILLI PEPPER PROJECT - Elephant Pepper Trust, Zambia
Movie LIVING WITH PREDATORS - Laikipia Predator Project, Mpala ranch, Kenya
Movie LIVING WITH BABOONS - Roots and Shoots, Tonyo School, Tanzania
Movie ECOTOURISM - Il Ngwesi Community Lodge, Kenya
Click on the links above to find out more about these projects.

A farmer in Zambia smears chilli grease on the fences around his fields to stop elephants trampling his crops (Elephant Pepper Trust, Zambia). © Jenny Sharman

Livestock owners have to protect their livestock from predation by wild carnivores like lions and leopards. This boma has a metal door and a wire fence as well as a thorny living fence to protect it. (Laikipia Predator Project, Mpala ranch, Kenya) © Sarah Watson
Site Designed by Plexus Media
Last Updated on 2/1/2013