Analysis: New study finds warfare has devastated African wildlife; can conservation bring peace?
More than 70% of Africa’s national parks have been affected by war in recent decades, and wildlife has suffered as a result. That’s according to a new study by researchers from Yale and Princeton universities, which looked at data on 253 populations of large herbivores from 126 protected areas in 19 countries across the continent. The study’s authors, writing in Nature, say that frequency of human conflict was “the single most important predictor of wildlife population trends” – better than other factors like frequency of droughts or the size of a protected area.
They conclude by arguing that conservation initiatives can be a positive part of post conflict peacebuilding. This raises an important set of questions: how do we conserve wildlife effectively in a warzone? And what are the challenges of integrating wildlife conservation with a peacebuilding strategy?