One of the issues that our conservation team faces regularly is that of humans and wildlife living increasingly close to one another, and so we work hard to find ways to make things as harmonious as they can possibly be.
With humans comes livestock, and one of the biggest concerns is their predation by free roaming animals. Beasts such as lions taking communities’ livestock has severe implications, and often results in the lions being killed. The consequences of such retaliatory killings are far reaching, and other species such as vultures, also suffer. With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with CLAWS (Communities Living Among Wildlife Sustainably) to address the way that animals are herded.
At present only 40% of the cattle in Northern Botswana is kraaled, and less than 10% of cattle herds are protected during the day.
Herding has fallen from favour in the local communities and isn’t seen as a desirable job. CLAWS has partnered with the African Centre for Holistic Management and the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) to host two Herder Training Courses. The courses teach eco-literacy, rangeland restoration from overgrazing, and techniques for reducing lion conflict, whilst emphasizing how important herders are in keeping the environment health as well as in traditional culture.
The idea is to return to the traditional way of herding livestock, which saw them accompanied by a herder at all times, making it far harder for wild animals to prey on them. The project consolidates the herds in order to reduce the cost. An additional advantage is that grazing becomes better controlled, thus reducing the damage to grasslands. We hope that the reintroduction of herding will provide employment opportunities and restore pride in this profession, as well of course, as protecting both cattle and wildlife.