cover art for Preventing Lion and Elephant Conflict and Supporting Alternative Livelihoods ft. Dr Moreangels Mbizah

Beneath the Baobab

Preventing Lion and Elephant Conflict and Supporting Alternative Livelihoods ft. Dr Moreangels Mbizah

Season 1, Ep. 3

Facing up to the threats of biodiversity loss and the climate crisis needs the participation of communities whose culture and livelihoods have been connected with wildlife for generations. 

Dr Moreangels Mbizah @MoreangelsM has dedicated her life to protecting the livelihoods of rural African communities in human-wildlife conflict and is world-renowned for her work with lions and large carnivores.

In this episode she talks with Gordon about her life’s work and current focus as Director of Wildlife Conservation Action @action4wildlife in Zimbabwe.

Moreangels explains how the recruitment of Community Guardians as well as the introduction of predator-proof bomas and livestock kraals has allowed communities to manage their livelihoods without conflict with lions, elephants and hyaenas in Nyaminyami, Zimbabwe.

Visit the website to explore more amazing international projects.


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  • 8. Co-existing with Zambia’s hippo population

    In this episode, we travel to Zambia to investigate a different – and lesser known – wildlife conflict to the ones already explored in the series. The hippo affects many lives, often tragically, and we meet local people with their own stories to tell; both of hippo attacks and injuries caused by elephants in the country. The Luangwa Valley sees dramatic seasonal variations and with a dynamic river system, fertile soil and lush vegetation, it’s the perfect home for a wide variety of animals – leading to a co-existence situation that delivers both opportunities and challenges for humans living in the area. In Lupande Game Management Area (GMA), increased human population has led to the expansion of human settlements into protected areas, constricting many species’ ranges and an increase in wildlife populations has resulted in wildlife straying out of protected areas and into crop and livestock areas. Rodgers Lubilo is a conservation and rural development expert from Zambia. He has 25 years’ experience in community led conservation in Southern Africa - especially in Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. He is a champion of community rights to benefit from conservation. He chairs the Zambian CBNRM Forum and the Community Leaders Network of Southern Africa - a leading voice for local communities and indigenous peoples in the region. We also hear from Goodson, Tinde and Dennis; all of whom have personal, and often tragic, stories of living in conflict with hippos and elephants. We speak to them all, beneath the baobab. Visit the website to explore more international projects. The video of this episode can be seen here:
  • 7. How agriculture is affected by human wildlife conflict

    Kasungu National Park forms part of the trans-frontier conservation area between Malawi and Zambia. The area used to have a thriving wildlife population but due to poaching, it was left depleted with the resident elephant population coming close to extinction.A translocation plan, put in place by the Malawian government, IFAW and African Parks, has returned the elephants to the park. Despite a positive long-term vision, the short-term effects have resulted in a number of human deaths, animal predation and crop damage – and with the country’s economy being agriculture-focussed, this aspect of human wildlife conflict is a particular concern in Malawi. Fences are also proving to be a contentious issue. An area being fully-fenced goes against the principles of landscape-scale conservation and prevents free movement but it does provide extra protection to local communities. The tensions are laid bare in this episode.Malidadi Langa is an economist and retired public servant with extensive experience across decentralisation, rural development, natural resource management governance and public policy – and community based natural resource management, otherwise known as CBNRM. He’s currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the KAWICCODA community association, represents Malawi CBNRM associations in the Southern Africa Community Leaders Network, advocating for community rights around sustainable use and benefit sharing.Senior Chief Lukwe describes a highly populated country in comparison to its neighbours, the need for civic education of the risks from wildlife, and the importance of compensation for victims of human wildlife conflict.Catherine Chunga is education and extension officer at the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Leonard Moyo is Education Division Manager and Ndaona Kumanga is National Park Manager at Kasungu. They describe Malawi’s unique relationship with wildlife, the challenges the local communities face, and what they are doing in their roles to manage and resolve human wildlife conflict.We speak to them all, beneath the baobab.Visit the website to explore more international projects.The video of this episode can be seen here: Conservation in the Context of High Human-Wildlife Conflict | African Parksifaw's response to elephant tragedies in Malawi
  • 6. Challenges In A Resettlement Area

    In this episode, we meet the Chizvirizvi community in Zimbabwe – a latecomer to the CAMPFIRE programme, compared to the Mahenye featured in episode 5.Chizvirizvi is somewhat different as it’s not operated by the Rural District Council. Instead, authority for the utilisation and management of wildlife has been conferred to the community or collective resettlement scheme plot holders. And with the authority only designated in 2003, their CAMPFIRE programme is relatively in its infancy, with the infrastructure only just beginning to grow.A survey in 2013 discovered the 77% of the population said they had experienced human wildlife conflict between the year 2000 and 2010. With this background, we expected a very different conversation to the one we had at the Jamanda Conservancy but as we’ve found throughout this series, there are always surprising – and often uplifting – stories to hear.We start with a shocking story of bravery in the face of a crocodile attack from Morina and her son Gideon. Thankfully, the story ends well.Mr Chirhilele is a farmer and rancher and describes how scouts and monitors go some way to protecting residents’ cattle but could do more. He asks that the wildlife population be maintained at an optimal number to ensure coexistence for him and his family, and for future generations.Dr Shylock Muyengwa is Managing Consultant at the Centre for Impact Evaluation and President of the Zimbabwe Evaluation Association and since 2007, has studied community-based natural resource management systems (CBNRM). Kevin Mfishani is a member of Community Leader’s Network and a project officer with the Zimbabwe CAMPFIRE association.They discuss the past, present and future of life alongside wild animals and the importance of empowering communities to make decisions and revenue, utilising their natural resources.We speak to them all, beneath the baobab.Visit the website to explore more international projects.The video of this episode can be seen here:
  • 5. How Government & Community Works Together For Wildlife Coexistence

    In this episode, we visit the Mahenye community and Jamanda Conservancy in Zimbabwe where the hope is that tourism revenue will aid those living alongside dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening, wildlife.The Jamanda Conservancy is the location for the first Communal Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) and today boasts an upmarket tourist lodge called Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge. This has resulted in an increase in revenue for the community and employs many of their members. The creation of the conservancy created a 10km border with Gonarezhou National Park and has re-established the ancient elephant migration route between Gonarezhou and Chimanimani in Mozambique.Maxwell was the victim of a horrific crocodile attack on the Save River, but 20 years after, shares his story and his relationship with wildlife after such a life changing event.Chief Mahenye represents every family in the community as part of his role. He explains how the challenges of coexisting with wildlife match up with the monetary benefits that come from hunting and tourism.Liberty Chauke is a CAMPFIRE community association board member and feels that changes in land management, herding and accessibility to water would go a long way to improving the quality of life for the Mahenye.And Clive Stockil is a wildlife expert and partner in the lodge and warns that unless mechanisms can be put in place to maintain and improve coexistence, the people’s wishes will win over the wildlife.We speak to them all, beneath the baobab.Visit the website to explore more international projects.The video of this episode can be seen here:
  • 4. How Organisations Aid Coexistence

    In this episode, we travel to Botswana to discover how innovative methods, and the role of organisations, are aiding the coexistence of people and wildlife. We visit the Chobe enclave, where despite a thriving tourism economy, the wildlife from the nearby National Park can cause life-changing and sometimes devastating challenges to local residents. Mr Mwezi is a community leader, a chief and a cattle rancher. He describes the challenges he faces from raising his herd in an area prone to drought and at risk by predators – but also the tragic loss of two close relatives. The Chobe Enclave Community Trust (CECT) is run by Moses Sinchembe and he acknowledges that humans and wildlife need to coexist – and that wild animals in the area can be what he describes as “a blessing and a curse”. He believes that by understanding the ‘language’ of the wildlife that surrounds the people, animals and humans can live alongside each other much more effectively. Letlhogonlo Kamuti comes from Ncongo (the Ngamiland Council of NGOs), a community based capacity-building organisation and umbrella body for NGOs (non-governmental organisations). He discusses the cultural importance for wildlife in the community, and the opportunities that come from hunting quotas and tourist safaris. Mubuso Kakambi was born and raised in Kavimba village and in her younger years, feared the wildlife around her. Now working for WildCRU (the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit), she helps her fellow residents see the benefits of coexistence and believes that education is key for the community. Andrew Mukwati is a community guardian for WildCRU and has built over 70 ‘kraals’, adapting traditional practices to create modern enclosures, designed to protect cattle and other livestock from predators. Jess Isden is WildCRU’s head of project and has been in Botswana for many years, building trust within communities and helping tip coexistence solutions in local people’s favour. The Trans-Kalahari predator programme is one of many programmes under WildCRU looking at the movement of large predators across the landscape. We speak to them all, beneath the baobab. Visit the website to explore more international projects. The video of this episode can be seen here:
  • 3. Life After Attacks & Loss Of Livelihood

    In this episode, we remain in Namibia to look at the human wildlife conflict that takes place in, and around, conservancies and discover how, despite some horrific stories, governments and communities can come together to create an effective co-existence between humans and wildlife. We visit the Nakabolelwa Conservancy in the Zambezi region to hear how it can be flooding, rather than drought, that affects farmers – but also how elephants and buffalos not only damage the crops that villagers need to survive, but can also maim and sometimes kill them. The country’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism offers some compensation and support for those affected by human wildlife conflict, there is the acknowledgement that more can – and sometimes needs – to be done. Both Richard Poniso and a farmer named Michael tell their stories. Dominic Muemma, operations manager for IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation) in the Zambezi region, explains how they empower local communities to manage their natural resources and help form conservancies, which results in revenue from tourism and the sustainable utilisation of wildlife. Despite the challenges and some heart-breaking stories in this episode, with 86 conservancies in the country, communities are also able to accrue benefits from the natural resources around them, alongside the tourist trade, and receive 100% of the income to be used in ways they see fit in their local areas. We speak to them all, beneath the baobab. Visit the website to explore more international projects. The video of this episode can be seen here:
  • 2. Leopards, Livestock & Alternative Income Sources

    In this second episode, we travel to Namibia and visit the #Gaingu conservancy to explore human wildlife conflict and effective coexistence and mitigation methods. The landscape around the conservancy is flat and arid, in the shadow of the Spitzkoppe mountain with the main wildlife resources being kudu, gemsbok, springbok and leopard. But these species can cause great problems and hardship for local people. In 2020, three herders from the conservancy were attacked by a leopard after attempting to protect one of their goats. The affected farmer received no help for this and although translocation was considered for the leopard and her cubs, nothing was implemented – and the animal continues to return periodically, injuring livestock. We spoke to the victims of the 2020 attack and heard about the challenges of moving livestock to ensure they are fed and watered, whilst protecting them from predators. In conversation with other members of the community, we heard their solutions and how animals can be an asset both financially and in terms of centuries-old coexistence. Neville Hendricks is the Conservancy Manager and in his conversation with Gordon Buchanan, explores the themes of trophy hunting, conservation, and how communities can make decisions for – and benefit from – the wildlife around them. We speak to those on both sides of the conservancy fence, beneath the baobab. Visit the website to explore more international projects. The video of this episode can be seen at
  • 1. Navigating Community Engagement & Compensation

    In this second series of Beneath The Baobab, we visit communities living alongside African wildlife – and explore the daily challenges of coexistence with them. In this episode, we visit the western border of Kruger National Park in South Africa where the species causing the most conflict are buffalo, lion, elephant, hippo and crocodile. South African National Parks (SANParks) offers a compensation scheme for the loss of livestock as a result of lions, spotted hyena, cheetah, and wild dog – but neither leopards nor crocodiles are included in this scheme. Similarly, there are difficulties in verifying claims for crop raiding; something most commonly caused by elephants and primates - and not compensated for. Anna Manie Teto is a villager and has lost cattle to crocodiles, whilst Livit shows us how one of his goats was victim to a jackal – and explains how wildlife can damage essential crops. Anna Niovu describes how calf attacks have affected her – and her family’s life – with her husband having to take a job in Durban to support his family. Thulani Nghoyama was our guide and translator in South Africa and speaks of hope in the community, despite the challenges they face, and whilst he acknowledges the coexistence problems faced on a daily basis, describes how the people alongside Kruger National Park have a love of the wildlife that surrounds them, and how education is a key part of a positive future. We finish the episode with a conversation with Bhili Rackson, who has grown up in the area. Starting as a tracker, he now runs a lodge and describes what he believes are the financial and cultural benefits; both at the lodge and in the wider community. We speak to them all, beneath the baobab. Visit the website to explore more international projects. The video of this episode can found at the website, or on YouTube at
  • Beneath The Baobab returns

    Beneath The Baobab - the communities and conservation podcast from Jamma International - returns with a new series on Thursday 7th March.Presented once again by documentary maker, Gordon Buchanan, we get even closer to the coexistence challenge and explore the issues by visiting communities who live alongside African wildlife; taking in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia.Click follow on your podcast app to make sure you don’t miss an episode - and find out more about Jamma International at