An Investigation into the influence of game ranching on Livestock Predation: a case study of Dolar Block Game Ranch in Bubi District.

Author: Ndhlovu, Sisasenkosi

This study investigated livestock predation by carnivores in three resettlement areas bordering Dollar Block game ranch in Bubi district, Matabeleland North. A total of 84 farmers were interviewed in a questionnaire survey among those three resettlement areas and livestock losses were recorded from the period of August 2012 to December 2013. Key informant interviews were held with key stakeholders namely the Dollar Block ranch manager and councilors in the respective areas. The collected data was analyzed using SPSS 16.0for windows. One way ANOVA was used as statistical tools at p<0.05 level of significance The survey results showed that there were three carnivores involved in the conflict namely, jackals, leopards and hyenas. Livestock predation by leopards and hyenas was found to be influenced by distance of resettlement areas from the game ranch. Farmers near the ranch were losing more livestock to these carnivores. Predation by jackals was not influenced by the distance of resettlement areas from the ranch. These predations had a strong influence on the livestock kept by farmers in the surrounding areas. Farmers far away from the Dollar Block game ranch kept more sheep, goats, cattle and donkey than those near the ranch. Jackals were also found to be the most problematic predators in all the three resettlement areas. Overall, the distance of resettlement areas from the game ranch has an influence on predation of domestic stock by carnivores and this affect flock and herd sizes kept by farmers in those areas. The analysis so far suggests that implementing basic precautionary measures to protect livestock in areas near the game ranch can go a long way in reducing predation. Human-wildlife conflict can be managed through an increase in public awareness on best practices for protecting livestock, fencing, guarding animals, reducing poaching and advising farmers to have livestock insurance schemes.