Human wildlife conflict is pervasive in southern Africa owing largely to the abundance and diversity of wild animals that persist in close proximity to rapidly expanding human populations and associated activities.
Understanding the biology of wild animals is essential for defining what might be possible by way of prevention, intervention and mitigation. However, the needs of wildlife must be placed within the context of human social and cultural norms and imperatives. Sociologists have highlighted the importance of social processes (notably status hierarchies, established institutional interests) in shaping what becomes accepted as ‘scientific fact’ both within science and in the broader society.
Our problem-driven, multi-disciplinary approach will include historical, political, psychological and cultural analysis where relevant. We believe that obtaining a broad based understanding of the social and ecological dimensions of conservation conflicts is essential to forging co-operative solutions.
iCWild offers the advantage of being of direct relevance both locally and nationally through its broad application to African societal problems and needs. Our research will involve, basic, curiosity-driven, applied and contract research, as well as policy development and ultimately artistic and creative production to shape social perceptions of the relationship between humans and the natural world.
Conservation conflicts can be as varied as they are complex. iCWild is host to a wide variety of projects, but with a special focus on regions characterised by mountains, drylands and the oceans where healthy wildlife populations persist in close proximity to diverse communities.