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Beauty and the Beef: Achieving Compatibility Between Wildlife Conservation and Livestock Production

by Portal Web Editor last modified Nov 13, 2015 07:53 PM
Contributors: Department of Verterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veternary Science, University of Pretoria.
African farmers living in areas with wildlife are faced with a serious dilemma: they cannot sell their healthy, free range beef to the lucrative export market. Current international trade practices dictate that they cannot protect the wildlife and, at the same time, farm their cattle in the same general area. If they want to export their beef to wealthy nations, they will have to get rid of all the wild buffalo or put up environmentally damaging veterinary fences. Robin Lyonga lives in the spectacular and largely unspoiled environment of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. He and his community are poor. What should he choose when trying to lift himself and his community out of poverty: protecting the wildlife and pursuing opportunities related to ecotourism and trophy hunting, or turning his back on conservation and selling his cattle into the lucrative beef export market? The truth is that there is a win-win solution: Robin Lyonga and his community can earn an income from conservation and sell their beef to the export market. All that is needed to enable this potentially bright future for millions of African cattle farmers is a small but very significant change in attitude and policy on the part of wealthy beef-importing nations.

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