Historically, the question has never had appropriate answers with regard to conflicts of cohabitation between wildlife and farmers living in conservation areas.
While wildlife conservationists in protected areas seem to be leaning towards using the hard way in order to impose themselves, farmers (local riparian communities) – with cultivated fields around protected areas – complain about the overflow of wild animals that often come to feed in their fields.
This situation has always been divisive, creating a tug of war between local/indigenous peoples and protected area managers. And yet, more or less acceptable solutions can be proposed and explored so that peaceful cohabitation between wildlife and humans can be restored, or at least attempted.
Indeed, during certain periods of the year, we can witness the decrease of fruits and other food products in the forest. In order to feed, animals are often forced to forage in the fields of local people around the conservation areas. This has always created conflicts, including trapping by local people in and around their fields, each claiming that the crop fields are their private property since they are located outside the conservation zones.
While knowing that these populations have always been right when it comes to such a situation, adequate solutions, or at least palliatives, must be found and proposed. This is why, after having carried out trials for more or less two years with the association Congo Biotropical Institute, a solution, which has borne fruit, is proposed here: in order to alleviate the problem of the overflow of wild animals towards the fields of the riparian communities, the association Congo Biotropical Institute develops, inside the forest reserve (natural) of Kalonge, spaces where it plants fruit trees, banana trees, potatoes and cereals intended to feed the wild animals in the reserve. The goal is to make available and accessible field products within the reserve, and thus prevent wild animals from going to the fields of the local population to find their food.
This can be achieved by adjusting the planting season so that flowering and/or fruiting coincides with the shortage of fruits and other grains in the forest/conservation area. This could greatly reduce encroachment and damage to riparian fields by wildlife.
This can be achieved by adjusting the planting season so that flowering and/or fruiting coincides with the shortage of fruits and other grains in the forest/conservation area. This could greatly reduce encroachment and damage to riparian fields by wildlife. Although this technique has been tested in a small forest reserve (Kalonge), it can be adapted to a very large forest area by increasing the number of ” wild fields areas ” (A small areas within the conservation zone in which the same plants found in the fields of the local riparian population are planted. It can be for example fruit trees, cereals, bananas and other crops. The goal is to make available the products consumed by the animals and thus to limit the incursions of wild animals into the fields of the local populations) within a protected area. These ” wild fields ” would keep wild animals within the conservation zones, thus limiting the damage to the crops of people living near the protected areas.
This is a solution that should be explored by all organizations and/or agencies involved in the protection and conservation of wild biodiversity in protected areas.
Summarized by Dalley-Divin SAA-SITA
President of Congo Biotropical Institute (CBI)
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