Tanyaradzwa Chigonda


Following an increase in incidences of severe droughts in the south-east lowveld and other arid regions of the country since the mid-1980s, many large-scale commercial farmers have shifted from cattle ranching to wildlife production. This study assesses the ecological success of the change in landuse from cattle ranging to wildlife production in the south-east lowveld of Zimbabwe with a special focus on Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. The study also examines the threats to the establishment of wildlife production and management activities in the study area and other similarly arid areas in the country. The study mainly relied on document analysis, interviews and observation for the collection of relevant data. The study revealed a successful ecological establishment of Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve evidenced by an increase in both faunal and floral wildlife since its establishment in 1994. The adoption of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme by government since 2000 has been identified as the major threat to the further growth and expansion of the wildlife sector in Zimbabwe, since many game farms and conservancies have also been earmarked for resettlement. Most of the households that have been resettled in the wildlife producing areas are practicing crop and livestock production, which apparently do not match with the agro-ecological conditions of these areas. There is need for a reassessment of the land reform programme in the wildlife producing regions of the country towards the exclusive establishment of game farms and conservancies, as these are the most suitable landuse activities in these arid areas.


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wildlife ranching, cattle ranching, conservancies, south-east lowveld, aridity, agro-ecological suitability, fast-track land reform programme

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