Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.
Wildlife knows no boundaries. So AWF has defined areas across the continent that are critical to conservation. These Priority Landscapes can cover public and private lands alike and often cross borders.
8,648,962 hectares (33,393 sq. mi.)
Watered by the mighty Zambezi River, the Kazungula Heartland is home to a large population of big cats and other predators, endangered rhinos, and the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. Kazungula links Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and supports vital wildlife migration corridors as well as human communities.
Growing human populations are threatening wildlife corridors.
Elephants, black rhinos, big cats, and many other animals used to travel freely along the Zambezi River and its surrounding lands. But, larger human populations are encroaching on wild areas. Agriculture and tourism-related construction help drive the local economy, but they obstruct vital movement corridors for wildlife in the Kazungula Heartland.
Where does all the (tourism) money go?
Rare and magnificent species, spectacular wild landscapes, and the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls draw tourists from around the world to the Kazungula Heartland. Hotels and lodges here offering luxury accommodations profit substantially from their proximity to so much natural beauty. But, all too often, this income never reaches the local communities who shoulder the burden of living with wildlife in their backyards. A large percentage of the profits from tourism has historically gone to large, mostly foreign-owned companies.
Large carnivores love cattle, but the love isn’t mutual.
The Kazungula Heartland is home to lions, spotted hyenas, African wild dogs, leopards, and jackals. These large carnivores come into conflict with local pastoral communities by hunting livestock, which people depend on for food and income. People kill predators in retaliation, driving down their populations.
Our solutions to the challenges in the Kazungula Heartland:
Build a school to help wildlife.
To secure African Wildlife Foundation's support to rebuild a local school, the Sekute community in Zambia set aside 50,000 acres of land for conservation. AWF built the Lupani Primary School for students whose families live near the Sekute Conservation Area and has launched an Easements for Education Program so that families who conserve land can afford to send their children to school. The program currently supports more than 100 children. Meanwhile, vital movement corridors remain open for elephants, big cats, and other wildlife, giving them space to thrive and reducing human-wildlife conflict.
Provide tourism (profits) for the community and conservation.
AWF helped a community living next to Chobe National Park in Botswana create the Ngoma Safari Lodge, a five-star luxury resort. The lodge is a partnership between the Chobe community and Muchenje Safaris—an experienced, private safari operator. Since the community owns the land and the lodge, Muchenje pays the community an annual rental fee as well as a percentage of the lodge’s revenue. In return for AWF support with developing the Ngoma Safari Lodge, the community has set aside land for conservation. While extending the area where elephants from Chobe National Park can roam safely, the lodge provides the community with income and incentives to preserve the area’s land and wildlife.
Understand that using knowlege of human-wildlife conflict is the key to solving it.
AWF has implemented a number of methods to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. In the Chobe Enclave community, we’ve introduced herding dogs to help herders protect their livestock and goats and constructed livestock enclosures—thus, keeping people’s livelihoods safe from predators and, in turn, protecting predators as well.
Explore some of our related projects.
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