Towards Sustainable Wildlife Conservation: a case study of wildlife crimes in two major protected areas and adjacent communities in Zimbabwe


Presenter: Edson Gandiwa, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation, Chinhoyi University of Technology

Co-authors: Never Muboko, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation, Chinhoyi University of Technology; Victor K. Muposhi, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation, Chinhoyi University of Technology


Wildlife crimes, mainly illegal hunting and trafficking of wild animals and animal products, are a major phenomenon threatening wildlife conservation in tropical savanna ecosystems. Using a case study of two major protected areas and adjacent communities in Zimbabwe, i.e., Gonarezhou and Hwange National Parks, the drivers, nature of crimes and impacts of wildlife crimes were explored through mixed methods approach with fieldwork being conducted between 2008 and 2013. Results show a multiplicity of drivers of wildlife crimes.

The drivers include subsistence and commercial motivation pushed by poverty levels, and a growing wealth mismatch between source countries and consumer markets leading to increased demand and illegal exploitation of wildlife resources, especially from developing countries. Wildlife crimes have negative impact on flagship species, framing of ecotourism, community-based wildlife management and increases conservation costs. At local level, the extent of local people involvement in wildlife management and incentives are important variables for buffering wildlife resources in the protected areas from illegal exploitation. At the regional level, cross-border networks related to transboundary conservation provides opportunities for enhanced collaboration of wildlife resources and wildlife protection among range states. Addressing wildlife crimes, thus, requires both bottom-up and top-down approaches as a way of enhancing sustainable wildlife conservation.


EDSON GANDIWA, Chinhoyi University of Technology

EdsonProfessor Edson Gandiwa is currently a Professor of Wildlife Conservation and Management, and Dean, School of Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe.

Previously, he served as an ecologist within the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority based in Gonarezhou National Park. He has been involved in two assessments under the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), i.e., as Lead Author (Chapter 4) for the Africa Regional Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and Review Editor (Chapter 5) for the global Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment.

He has recently been involved as a community-based natural resource management expert in Zimbabwe’s Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) review. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and Health from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe, an MSc in Tropical Resource Ecology from the University of Zimbabwe and a PhD in Wildlife Conservation and Management from Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands.

He is a recipient of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) Working Group Young Opinion Thesis Award and an outstanding research award in the Natural Sciences and Environmental sector from the Research Council of Zimbabwe for his research. He is an Affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences and a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow.