Wildlife management in the Green Heart of Africa

Keeping the life in wildlife

Protecting wildlife in its natural habitat represents one of conservation’s greatest challenges. But for WWF, keeping the life in wildlife is not just a matter of priority for the survival of fauna and flora, but also for humans that share their habitat.

The conflict that pits people’s legitimate needs for space and subsistence against the survival of wildlife is constantly growing. As human populations increase and natural habitat is lost, interactions between humans and animals will become more and more frequent. How does WWF respond to each party’s vital needs?

What WWF is doing for…

 / ©: WWF / Michel GUNTHER
Environmental education using the Global positioning system (GPS) in the Minkébé Forest, Gabon
© WWF / Michel GUNTHER

The need to understand wildlife

From gorillas to elephants, WWF is on the trail of threatened species to better understand their needs, behaviour and the threats they face in the wild. These efforts represent the basis of any conservation measure.

In Dzanga-Ndoki National Park (Central African Republic), WWF heads a team that is studying western lowland gorillas, in particular their movements and whereabouts.

The gorillas have become used to human presence, making it easier to learn about their behaviour and providing the opportunity for tourists to observe them. This will help provide the funding and the incentive to protect the forest.

WWF is training often-illiterate park rangers to use Cybertracker. Whenever they spot a species such as elephant or gorilla, they simply touch an image of the animal on a hand-held computer device that later transfers the findings and location to a computerized database. The cumulative data, when analysed, gives us an insight into the behaviour and needs of the species.

 / ©: WWF / John E. NEWBY
New York Zoological Society radio-tracking research project. Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
© WWF / John E. NEWBY

Wildlife management in the hands of people

The creation of community-hunting areas is an opportunity to help local populations directly access wildlife resources for their basic subsistence needs. For example, some local communities are generating significant revenues by leasing hunting territories for sport hunting.

Such initiatives require long-term technical assistance from NGOs such as WWF, to build local capacity to manage and invest revenues generated from the hunting areas. The government has also had to develop good benefit-sharing policies and a sound legal framework to support such community initiatives.

With help from WWF, revenues generated from community-hunting areas are financing projects such as the digging of wells, the establishment of community farms and the provision of school aids.

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