CAMPFIRE Program Puts Control of Wildlife in Local Hands
“All species and habitats should be safeguarded to the extent that it is technically, economically, and politically feasible.” – 1982 World Charter for Nature
This is a crucial time to evaluate evidence of CAMPFIRE’s tangible benefits. The Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) is entirely dependent on income from the sustainable use of wild resources. The CAMPFIRE Program is effective because it provides incentives for locals to manage their resources efficiently. SCI Foundation is very optimistic about the future of this science-based and community-based conservation program.
The human population within the CAMPFIRE districts is increasing, creating a problem with increased human-wildlife conflict. Since 2011 there have been 61 human fatalities, increased livestock attacks, crop destruction, and even disturbances affecting local school attendance. In response to these incidents, some locals have retaliated using chemical poisons such as cyanide. Poaching has also increased as well as the illegal bushmeat trade. These deep and complex issues need to be addressed from as many angles as possible. However, the most crucial angle is how to continue empowering local communities.
Rural District Councils (RDCs) depend on hunting programs to generate economic benefits to rural communities, and there is no species that brings more revenue than elephants. It is no coincidence that the very same species responsible for most of CAMPFIRE’s success is also responsible the vast majority of human-wildlife conflicts. As we’ve stated in a previous post, over 500,000 African elephants still roam the continent with 80,000 in Zimbabwe alone. Zimbabwe can accommodate only 40,000 elephants, creating the foundation upon which sustainable use programs like CAMPFIRE exist.
Empowering rural communities to exercise stewardship over their natural resources means creating value to those resources. In areas where elephants are sometimes an extremely large and dangerous nuisance, an incentive for local communities to protect them is critical. Participating in the CAMPFIRE program helps reduce human-elephant conflicts and creates a far more positive relationship between the communities and elephants.
CAMPFIRE has come a long way since its inception in 1982, however there is still far more to be done. Problems such as increased human-elephant conflict as well as poaching are on the rise. SCI Foundation believes in science-based programs such as CAMPFIRE, a true conservation success. Elephant hunting is a conservation success in Zimbabwe, and we intend to promote the responsible, science-based hunting programs that uplift elephants, their habitat, and those who live with them every day.
SCI Foundation is an optimistic organization, we are proud to support the efforts of the CAMPFIRE program and those who benefit from it. The founding set of principles established by the CAMPFIRE program can be best summed up as giving rural communities the power to enhance their own destiny through sustainable use of their natural resources. This communal resource management philosophy places the responsibility and the benefits almost entirely in the hands of the communities. One day we will all look back on the difficulties and achievements of the CAMPFIRE program and know this is a positive force in the world.
Safari Club International Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds and directs worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education. Any contribution may be tax deductible under Internal Revenue Code section 170(c) as a charitable contribution to the extent permitted by law. Tax deductible amount of gift is reduced by the Fair market Value of any goods, services, or advantages that a sponsor receives for the donation. EIN #86-0292099.