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Preliminary Assessment of Illegal Hunting by Communities Adjacent to the Northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe

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Illegal hunting of wildlife is a major issue in today’s society, particularly in tropical ecosystems. In this study, a total of 114 local residents from eight villages located in four wards adjacent to the northern Gonarezhou National Park, south-eastern Zimbabwe were interviewed in 2009, using semi-structured questionnaires. The study aimed to answer the following questions: (i) what is the prevalence of illegal hunting and what are commonly used hunting methods? (ii) Which wild animal species are commonly hunted illegally? (iii) What are the main reasons for illegal hunting? (iv) What strategies or mechanisms are currently in place to minimize illegal hunting? Overall, 59% of the respondents reported that they saw bushmeat, meat derived from wild animals, and/or wild animal products being sold at least once every six months, whereas 41% of the respondents reported that they had never seen bushmeat and/or wild animal products being sold in their villages and/or wards. About 18% of the respondents perceived that illegal hunting had increased between 2000 and 2008, whereas 62% of the respondents perceived that illegal hunting had declined, and 20% perceived that it remained the same. Snaring (79%) and hunting with dogs (53%) were reportedly the most common hunting methods. A total of 24 wild animal species were reportedly hunted, with African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) (18%), Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga) (21%), kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) (25%) and impala (Aepyceros melampus) (27%) amongst the most targeted and preferred animal species. In addition, large carnivores, including spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) (11%), leopard (Panthera pardus) (10%) and African lion (Panthera leo) (8%), were reportedly hunted illegally. The need for bushmeat, for household consumption (68%), and raising money through selling of wild animal products (55%) were reported as being the main reasons for illegal hunting. Strengthening law enforcement, increasing awareness and environmental education, and developing mechanisms to reduce human-wildlife conflicts will assist in further minimizing illegal hunting activities in the Gonarezhou ecosystem.
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... Firstly, there has been an actual increase in the number of human-crocodile and crocodile-livestock conflicts especially in wetlands outside of protected areas (ZPWMA, 2015;Musiwa and Mhlanga, 2020). The locals have perceived an increase in the numbers of crocodile sightings in rivers and dams in Zimbabwe and thus, believe the species has been increasing in numbers (Gandiwa, 2011;Zisadza-Gandiwa et al., 2013. Consequently, there has been an increased human and livestock casualties and fatalities frequently reported in the national media leading to negative local perceptions towards the species in most water systems. ...
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... Bushmeat hunting Loibooki et al., 2002;Yamagiwa, 2003;Kaltenborn et al., 2005;Van Vliet and Nasi, 2008;Mfunda and Roslash, 2010;Gandiwa, 2011;Lindsey et al., 2011;Knapp, 2012;Kahler and Gore, 2012;Gandiwa et al., 2013;Nuno et al., 2013aNuno et al., , 2013bAyivor et al., 2013;Damnyag et al., 2013;Fischer et al., 2014;Friant et al., 2015;Moreto and Lemieux, 2015;Borgerson et al., 2016;Knapp et al., 2017;Rogan et al., 2018;MacKenzie, 2018;Manqele et al., 2018;Spira et al., Loibooki et al., 2002;Kaltenborn et al., 2005;Van Vliet and Nasi, 2008;Mfunda and Roslash, 2010;Gandiwa, 2011;Lindsey et al., 2011;Gandiwa et al., 2012;Knapp, 2012;Kahler and Gore, 2012;Gandiwa et al., 2013;Ayivor et al., 2013;Damnyag et al., 2013;MacKenzie and Hartter, 2013;Friant et al., 2015;Moreto and Lemieux, 2015;Borgerson et al., 2016;Knapp et al., 2017;Rogan et al., 2018 Governance Governance or management of the PA ineffective or noninclusive or not included in the launching or management of the PA; community wildlife management programmes associated with the PA, e.g., conservation, seem to only benefit foreigners/local elites Kahler and Gore, 2012 Loibooki et al., 2002;Yamagiwa, 2003;Lindsey et al., 2011;Gandiwa et al., 2012Gandiwa et al., , 2013 6.9 ...
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