Population Dynamics of Large Herbivores and the Framing of Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe


This article reviews: 1) The role of natural and human-induced controls in influencing large herbivore populations; 2) how human controls (i.e., policy instruments, incentives and provisions) influence human activities and wildlife conservation; and 3) media framing of wildlife conservation using Zimbabwe as a case study, in particular Gonarezhou National Park and adjacent areas. The review shows that droughts are important in influencing large herbivore populations in semi-arid ecosystems; political instability and economic collapse does not necessarily lead to increased illegal hunting in situations where policy instruments, such as laws, are enforced. A higher perceived effectiveness of Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources was partly associated with a decline in human-wildlife conflicts and there was a spill-over effect of frames from the political domain into wildlife conservation following Zimbabwe’s land reforms in 2000. It is concluded that natural bottom-up processes (e.g., droughts) influence large herbivore population dynamics whereas policy instruments, incentives, provisions and societal frames mainly have a top-down effect on wild large herbivore populations in savanna ecosystems.

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Gandiwa, E. (2014) Population Dynamics of Large Herbivores and the Framing of Wildlife Conservation in Zimbabwe. Open Journal of Ecology, 4, 411-420. doi: 10.4236/oje.2014.47036.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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