Living with WildlifeFeathers 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. 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. The 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
DOWNLOAD: EXCERPTS FROM AFRICA OUR HOME
DOWNLOAD: LIVING WITH WILDLIFE ACTION SHEETS
DOWNLOAD: LIVING WITH WILDLIFE ACTIVITIES
|ACTIVITIES FOR EDUCATORS
|To get further details of helpful organisations listed in the Action Sheets download the PACE Directory.
|LIVING WITH ELEPHANTS - Bill Woodley Mount Kenya Trust, Kenya
|THE ELEPHANT CHILLI PEPPER PROJECT - Elephant Pepper Trust, Zambia
|LIVING WITH PREDATORS - Laikipia Predator Project, Mpala ranch, Kenya
|LIVING WITH BABOONS - Roots and Shoots, Tonyo School, Tanzania
|BUSHMEAT - WCS COMACO, Zambia
|ECOTOURISM - Il Ngwesi Community Lodge, Kenya