Can local communities afford full control over wildlife conservation? The case of Zimbabwe

Peer Reviewed
30 November 2020

Herbert Ntuli, Edwin Muchapondwa, Boscow Okumu

Wildlife is widely becoming an important vehicle for rural development in most third-world countries across the globe. With wildlife, as with other conservation and development policies, policymakers are usually not informed about the needs and wants of poor rural households and roll out programmes that are not tailor made to suit their desires, which often results in policy failure. We use a survey-based choice experiment in this paper to investigate household preferences for various attributes of a wildlife management scheme. The survey was administered in
local communities around the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. Respondents showed great willingness to move from the status quo to a regime that gives them full control over
wildlife. Thus, our results speak to increased devolution of wildlife management from the rural district councils into the hands of sub-district producer communities. The respondents’ willingness-to-pay to take full control over wildlife conservation suggests that full devolution doubles the value of CAMPFIRE to the producer communities. Furthermore, our results support the idea that government programmes and development projects should not be imposed on local communities but should be informed by programme beneficiaries through research in order to
capture their needs and wants. Finally, our results demonstrate that poachers and those who are generally good at extracting resources from the environment will oppose change.

EfD Authors

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Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Ntuli, H., Muchapondwa, E., & Okumu, B. (2020). Can local communities afford full control over wildlife conservation? The case of Zimbabwe. Journal of Choice Modelling, 37, 100231. doi:10.1016/j.jocm.2020.100231
Publication | 23 November 2020