Established on 18 August 2011, the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) in Southern Africa is the world’s biggest conservation area. KAZA spans five countries – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The KAZA TFCA covers an area of ca. 520,000 km² – encompassing 20 national parks, 85 forest reserves, 114 game/wildlife management areas, 11 sanctuaries, and 22 conservancies interspersed by communal and private settlements and agricultural land including rangelands. Much of the area, ca. 371,394 km² is under some form of wildlife management and includes an elephant population (Loxodonta africana) of ca. 199,031 individuals (the largest population on the African continent), leaving ca. 148,520 km² for agricultural use, including rangeland. In addition to tourism, wildlife management, and forestry, most of the ca. three million inhabitants in the KAZA landscape depend on agriculture, livestock rearing, and the exploitation of other natural resources– such as non-forest timber products – for their livelihoods.
A growing human population leads to increasing encroachment, food and water scarcity which, along with significant poverty levels, increases the frequency and severity of negative interactions between wildlife, people and their livestock. Human-wildlife conflict is a major livelihood problem in KAZA. Several mechanisms including water augmentation, capacity building for local tourism ventures and funding for local community infrastructure development are being employed to improve the livelihoods of the inhabitants in the region, particularly those most directly affected by wildlife. Also, coexistence is being promoted in areas where people and wildlife interact, commonly referred to as ‘wildlife dispersal areas’ (WDA). This is facilitated by the harmonisation of policies, in strategies and in practices, advanced to reduce human-wildlife conflict, foster better cross-sector coordination, and improve transboundary communication and cooperation.