Is Education the key to getting communities involved in conservation?

In Nigeria, the Wildlife Conservation Society has been taking a projector to remote villages around the cross gorillas range.

As in other parts of the world, often the humans that live on the edge of the wild animals range rarely see the animal. Indeed, it is often the case that the only locals who have seen the animal are hunters.

Might it be as simple as showing the locals what we are trying to protect?

It is essential to get local people on board when you are trying to protect mega fauna. One of the difficult things with many of the large mammals is that they breed slowly. As a result it is important to get human populations on side, as even a small number of animals killed can lead to the eventual loss of a whole species.

Conservationists appear to have to learn the same lesson over and over again. Without local people on side, you are almost always fighting a loosing battle. Local populations need to both have a great love for the wildlife that they live alongside, but also the ability for the communities to gain from the presence of the wildlife – whether this is because they get direct finance, or because there are jobs for the people in the village.

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