The Numbers Game in Wildlife Conservation: Changeability and framing of large mammals numbers in Zimbabwe

This study investigates the role of natural and human-induced controls in influencing large herbivore populations and how human controls (i.e., policy instruments, incentives and provisions) influence human activities and wildlife conservation in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe and adjacent areas.

In integrated conservation and development projects, the active involvement of local people in decision making related to wildlife conservation is more important for reducing experienced human-wildlife conflicts than giving financial benefits to affected people.
Edson Gandiwa

The study results showed that: 1) droughts are important in influencing large herbivore populations in semi-arid ecosystems; 2) political instability and economic collapse does not necessarily lead to increased illegal hunting in situations where policy instruments, such as laws, are enforced; 3) local people involvement in decision making is important in community-based natural resources programmes, and 4) a spill-over effect in media frames occurred from the political domain into wildlife conservation following Zimbabweʹs land reforms in 2000. It is concluded that natural bottom-up processes influence large herbivore population dynamics whereas policy instruments, incentives, provisions and societal frames mainly have a top-down effect on wild large herbivore populations in savanna ecosystems.