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Human-Wildlife Conflict Study

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Ecology & Conservation Zimbabwe


Human population growth and the resultant conflict with wildlife pose a formidable threat to Africa’s vast wilderness areas. The ability to understand the causes of human-wildlife conflict and its effects, and to deploy appropriate countermeasures is vital to securing the future of this environment. Zimbabwe’s Zambezi valley is on the frontline of these human-wildlife conflict management efforts. This program provides an opportunity to study the issues at play, engage with communities bordering national parks, examine various anti-poaching strategies, visit community projects, understand wildlife/livestock interaction and meet influential traditional leaders.

Why the Zambezi Valley?

The Zambezi Valley is a unique environment consisting of a string of inter-linked national parks, straddling eight countries. Rapid human encroachment poses a significant threat to the ecosystem, particularly in areas such as Victoria Falls. Some of these parks are home to the largest remaining populations of certain species – e.g., Hwange National Park is home to 55 000 – 60 000 elephants, which is a fifth of the remaining global population, and almost triple the total population in Kenya.

EDU Africa has research access to three of the region’s most significant national parks; Victoria Falls National Park, Hwange National Park, and Chizarira National Park. Due to neglect and mismanagement, Chizarira was heavily poached for several years, rendering it one of the most affected areas in Africa. Sadly, by the time intervention came, no rhinos were left in the park and hundreds of elephants had also been killed. These two animals suffered for the gains to be made from the illegal selling of their horns and tusks respectively. The other animals were mainly poached for food. Research access includes permission to appropriately travel off the main roads on foot with scouts (even at night), to conduct species call-ups, to perform animal reintroductions, and to conduct darting and collaring operations. It is for these reasons that EDU Africa is able to offer a transformative learning journey that allows students to grow in their understanding of the complex nature of human-wildlife conflict.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to

  • Recognize and discuss the various forms of human-wildlife conflict and the associated challenges being faced in the Zambezi Valley.
  • Inspect, review and contrast a range of human-wildlife conflict countermeasures being made use of by conservation organizations in the area.
  • Examine the circumstances and worldviews of communities immediately bordering and living with the wildlife in order to gain a first-hand understanding of the challenges they face.
  • Present on the future of vulnerable areas such as the one visited and propose solutions for its long-term survival.

Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.


Dr Norman Monks

Norman holds an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, a Certificate in Industrial Environmental Management from Rhodes University and a Doctorate in Wildlife Management from the University of the Free State. Norman retired after a 37-year career working for Zimbabwe National Parks, this included stints as head warden at Mana Pools and Gonarezhou National Parks, among others. He currently works as CEO of a regional conservation trust.

Exeverino Chinoitezvi

With an honors degree in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation from Chinhoyi University, Exeverino has been working for Zimbabwe National Parks since 2011. He currently holds the position of Senior Ecologist for Chizarira National Park. Much of Chizarira is seldom visited and it is widely believed that the park is likely home to a number of undiscovered plant, insect and possibly amphibian species. His particular research interests in the area include: Wildlife Monitoring & Evaluation Techniques, Spatial Modelling, Fire Ecology, Wildlife Population Dynamics and Plant Ecology.

Matt Mcray

Matt completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch before obtaining his Masters in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. He currently works as a full-time field researcher in Chizarira National Park. His focus is on an in-depth study of the lion population within the park. The neighboring area has recently experienced significant lion predation on livestock. Having darted and collared a number of lions in the area, these are being tracked and counter measures being sought.

Angela Fergusen

Angela holds an MSC in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. She currently works as a full-time field researcher in the Victoria Falls National Park. Her work currently has a focus on hyena and giraffe populations. She regularly engages with human-wildlife conflict related issues and is actively involved with surrounding communities and education programs in local schools.

Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Active throughout the area, the Victoria Falls anti-poaching unit was founded in 1999 and has proven highly effective. The unit is involved on a number of fronts including schools’ education, community visits, snare sweeps, anti-poaching patrols, and the treatment of wounded animals. To date, in excess of 400 poachers have been arrested and 19 800 snares removed.

Customize your program

Our friendly and experienced team will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.

Featured Experiences

Boma Restaurant

Meaning “the place of eating,” Boma appeals to the senses with a variety of local dishes including game meat such as kudu, warthog and ostrich. Guests are welcome to take part in traditional drumming and dancing. You even have the opportunity to eat a local delicacy – mopane worms!

Craft Workshop

Enjoy a cultural evening with Zimbabwean musicians, after which the local craftsmen will be available to teach you how to craft beautiful pieces of jewellery and sculptures. This cultural immersion experience will not only teach you new skills, but give you insight into the cultures and traditions of the people of Zimbabwe.

High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel

Visit the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, renowned for it’s colonial-era architecture. This five-star hotel is only a ten-minute walk from the falls themselves, and was built in 1904 as a key part of the “Cape to Cairo” railroad dream. Today, enjoying a high-tea on the terrace gives you insight into what life was like over a hundred years ago as you gaze at the Victoria Falls Bridge, mist rising from the thundering waterfall.

Tiger Fishing

These ferocious, predatory fish lurk throughout much of the Zambezi, catching prey with their enormous jaws and needle-like teeth. Add a tiger fish to your repertoire during your sports fishing adventure on the Zambezi.

Flight of Angels

Hover through the pounding mist of Victoria Falls as you explore the stunning landscape from the air. A specially designed helicopter, providing panoramic visibility to every passenger, takes you high into the sky to be truly encompassed by the mesmerizing grandeur of the falls.

Victoria Falls

Known as the “smoke that thunders,” Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The waterfall system is the largest on Earth, about 1.7 kilometers wide and one hundred and eight meters high. Enjoy being awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the falls.

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