Perceived impacts of veterinary fences on local live-lihoods in northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe
The role of veterinary fences in wildlife conservation and livestock production has increasingly been receiving attention in semi-arid ecosystems. Previous research has shown that veterinary fences play an important role in reducing disease outbreaks between wildlife, humans and domestic livestock; enhances security in wildlife conservation and reduces human-wildlife conflicts. However, the establishment of veterinary fences in some protected areas has led to conflicts between local people and wildlife authorities. This study examined community views of a newly contracted veterinary cordon fence through 78 household questionnaire surveys in a community adjacent to the northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. Data were collected between February and March in 2013. Our results show that despite the key roles that local communities place on the fences, most local people were concerned about reduced livestock grazing area and protected area boundary location. Our study suggests that protected area management and local people relationships are important in the long-term sustainability of veterinary fences demarcating adjoining rural and protected area landscapes. We, thus, recommend for the: 1) effective community engagement in natural resources conservation programs, and 2) development of innovative livestock production systems in areas adjacent to protected areas in savanna ecosystems.
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