ARPHA Preprints, doi: 10.3897/arphapreprints.e97362
An assessment of local community engagement in wildlife conservation: a case study of the Save Valley Conservancy, South Eastern Zimbabwe
expand article infoItai Dhliwayo, Never Muboko, Given Matseketsa§, Edson Gandiwa|
‡ Chinhoyi University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe§ University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa| Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Harare, Zimbabwe
Open Access

In Southern Africa, human and wildlife interactions have significantly increased over the past decade resulting in complex conservation conflicts. For instance, conservation conflicts in the Save Valley Conservancy (SVC) in the southeast lowveld of Zimbabwe have grown to a level of drawing the concerns of various players, both within and outside the protected area. However, these players are of diverse opinions and interests calling for an inclusive, effective and multi-integrated stakeholder engagement strategy that addresses these needs and opinions in a transformative conservation framework. As humans and wildlife share space, stakeholder engagement becomes a critical component of wildlife management and transformative conservation. In this study, we analysed the conservation conflicts in the SVC. Data were collected between April and May 2020 through focus group discussions and interviews with 20 key purposively sampled informants. This study results revealed a lack of an effective, inclusive, integrated multi-cross-sectional stakeholder engagement plan as one of the major contributing factors to the existence of conservation conflicts in the SVC. It is concluded that, there is limited participation by community members and generally no shared views among the community members on viable land use options in the SVC. This study proposes for an integrated cross-sectional stakeholder working framework which does not only inform conservation practitioners but also fully addresses the prevailing conservation conflict scenarios emanating from the exclusion of humans from protected areas and the encroachment of wildlife in human settlements.

conservation conflict, Save Valley Conservancy, stakeholder engagement, transformative conservation, wildlife conservation