Local communities must be part of conservation decision making

African Elephants_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

For the conservation of Africa’s iconic wild places and wildlife to survive into the future, it is imperative that local communities become part of the management decision-making and that they receive tangible socio-economic benefits from these conservation areas. Raising awareness of the importance of the iconic species and landscapes is a critical part of this process and it has been clearly shown that where protected areas include such education and awareness processes there are reduced levels of conflict that occur between the protected area personnel and the communities.

This education and awareness process is the first step that will enable further engagement and the development of real socio-economic opportunities for these communities. Where communities are involved in the conservation of Africa, positive solutions and opportunities will lead to the protection, recovery and expansion of protected areas and wildlife and this is surely good news!