IFAW engages traditional leaders in Human-wildlife conflicts

05 Jul, 2022 - 13:07 0 Views
IFAW engages traditional leaders in Human-wildlife conflicts IFAW President and CEO Mr Azzedine Downes

The Sunday News

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

THE International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has convened a second traditional leaders meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi in order to amplify traditional leaders participation in ambitious conservation efforts.

The network meeting which ran from 3 to 4 July was an influential platform for traditional leaders and communities to spearhead co-existence, conservation and wildlife protection efforts in context of IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative.

IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative is a new approach to conservation in Africa. Backed by 20 years of science and fieldwork, Room to Roam aims to ensure viable, stable, resilient elephant populations long into the future—and with little to no human interference. Through connectivity and secure habitats, the initiative seeks to create safe passages for elephants and other wildlife to move freely within their home range of East and Southern Africa. This brings greater biodiversity, a natural resilience to climate change, and a future where animals and communities can coexist and thrive.

The first meeting was in Amboseli Kenya on 8 December 2021 where traditional leaders came together to voice the importance of their involvement in the process of protecting key landscapes that allow animals and people to thrive together.

Chief Siphoso Alphius Msindazi of Tsholotsho community in Zimbabwe together with Tsholotsho District Development Coordinator Mr Aaron Gono joined traditional leaders and development authorities from other five African countries.

IFAW President and CEO who is leading the gathering Mr Azzedine Downes said: “Landscapes are increasingly fragmented, disrupting free movement of elephants and other wildlife, leading to more frequent human wildlife conflict

“Only together, we can find solutions that allow animals and people thrive together and IFAW is committed to lead this process where traditional leaders and communities are at the forefront of our planning as we proceed to advance IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative to protect key landscapes across Eastern and Southern Africa” said Azzedine Downes.

Senior Chief Felix Lukwa of Kasungu, Malawi said: “Traditional leaders are the custodians of nature and wildlife outside of protected areas and are the driving force behind reclamation of wildlife corridors and developing alternative livelihoods. At the same time expressing the challenges communities face due to living with wildlife like damaging harvests and killing of livestock.”

The gathering hosted by Senior Chief Felix Lukwa of Kasungu, Malawi was attended by Chief Siphoso Alphius Msindazi of Tsholotsho community in Zimbabwe, Chairman Daniel Leturesh of the Olgulului-Ololarashi of Amboseli, Kenya. Princess Nikiwe of Pauline Bam, South Africa; Chieftainess Mwanya Grace Banda, Zambia; Chieftainess Mwasemphangwe, Laecia Phiri, Zambia and Chief Lesoma B. Lesoma, Botswana represented the traditional leaders.

Administrators Mr Aaron Gono District Development Coordinator, Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe; Jimmy Phiri District Commissioner, Lumezi District, Zambia; Seitisho Philadelphia Ramutla, AYIL, South Africa and Koikai Oloitiptip, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, Kenya also attended.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. It works across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. [email protected]

 

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