Wildlife-Friendly Beef: Reconciling Conflicts between Wildlife Conservation and Livestock Agriculture in KAZA

Principal Investigator: Steven Osofsky

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Sponsor: National Geographic Society
Grant Number: NGS-55470C-19
Title: Wildlife-Friendly Beef: Reconciling Conflicts between Wildlife Conservation and Livestock Agriculture in KAZA
Project Amount: $45,000
Project Period: April 2019 to March 2020

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

Our work is focused on promoting sectorally integrative policy and practice in the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area, a conservation and development initiative of five-member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Northern Botswana (Ngamiland) is our pilot area of focus. Within Ngamiland and KAZA more broadly, the conservation of wildlife is often in conflict with livestock production; infectious agents in wild animals, particularly foot and mouth disease viruses, have made it difficult or impossible for beef farmers to enter the world market, due to restrictions based on the livestock’s proximity to wildlife. However, the current solution—vast fencing to separate livestock and wildlife— interrupts wild animal migration pathways and endangers their survival. My collaborators and I are focusing on the way beef is actually processed in order to keep products virus- free for international sale—an approach that does not completely depend on fences. For farmers to participate, they will need to improve their livestock management, including herding, and kraaling. This beef biosafety-focused (instead of fence-based) approach could open global markets for farmers living with wildlife and enhance livelihood opportunities in both agriculture and sustainable ecotourism. We envision a win-win situation for farmers and the environment, one that alleviates poverty while mitigating conflicts between livestock farmers and lions and other predators.