Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 647–663 | Cite as

Carnivore conservation under land use change: the status of Zimbabwe’s cheetah population after land reform

Original Paper

Abstract

Large terrestrial carnivores especially have experienced substantial declines in range and numbers. Changes in land use are a main driver of such declines, yet various developing countries have accelerated land use change through state-led land reform programmes. One of the most renowned land reform programmes is Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform programme (FTLRP), which resulted in fast and compulsory subdivision of large commercial farms into indigenized small scale commercial and subsistence farms. Several case studies have shown an impact of the FTLRP on wildlife, however, its effect on wildlife populations at a nationwide scale remains largely unknown. Due to its wide-ranging nature, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is particularly vulnerable to changes in land use. In this study I used questionnaire survey and citizen science data to determine the population status and distribution of the cheetah 15 years after introduction of the FTLRP. I also assessed the level of human-cheetah conflict, and attitudes of commercial and subsistence farmers towards cheetah. I found dramatic range contractions and population declines, particularly in the landscape outside protected areas. Despite minimal conflict, subsistence farmers were less tolerant to cheetah than commercial farmers. Consequently, land reform is likely to have increased the hostility of the cheetah landscape outside protected areas. This study is one of the most comprehensive species assessments to date. It provides valuable empirical data on the implications of land use change and emphasizes how a lack of knowledge impedes our ability to recognize a species vulnerability to (local) extinction risk.

Keywords

Acinonyx jubatus Species assessment Range contraction Large carnivores Population decline Human encroachment Human wildlife conflict Biodiversity loss 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Zimbabwe Research Council, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development are kindly acknowledged for providing the necessary permits to carry out this research. I thank H. Dullemont, M. Badza, C. Mapendere, S. Mpansi, H. Ndlovu and A. Goronga for their assistance with the field work. I am very grateful to the 1209 respondents and many citizen scientists who provided cheetah information. This work was supported by grants from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, INNO Fund, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, Panthera, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Stichting SPOTS, Stichting Wildlife, The Rufford Foundation, Van Tienhoven Foundation and Wilderness Wildlife Trust.

Supplementary material

10531_2017_1455_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (632 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 631 kb)

References

  1. Arnold TW (2010) Uninformative parameters and model selection using Akaike’s information criterion. J Wildl Manag 74:1175–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashley C, Jones B (2001) Joint ventures between communities and tourism investors: experiences in southern Africa. Int J Tour Res 3:407–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. AWF (2011) Wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe, a review of relevant statutes and an assessment of protected areas, conservancies and implications of the indigenisation policy. ABG/BATS Task on land tenure FY2011. African Wildlife Foundation, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  4. Bruner AG, Gullison RE, Rice RE, da Fonseca GAB (2001) Effectiveness of parks in protecting tropical biodiversity. Science 291:125–128CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. CAMPFIRE (2013) CAMPFIRE Profile, July 2013. Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources, HarareGoogle Scholar
  7. Ceballos G, Ehrlich PR, Barnosky AD, García A, Pringle RM, Palmer TM (2015) Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: entering the sixth mass extinction. Sci Adv.  https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1400253 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Chappell MJ, Wittman H, Bacon CM, Ferguson BG, García Barrios L, García Barrios R, Jaffee D, Lima J, Méndez VE, Morales H, Soto-Pinto L, Vandermeer J, Perfecto I (2013) Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America. F1000Research 2:235.  https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.2-235.v1 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Chelysheva EV (2004) A new approach to cheetah identification. Cat News 41:27–29Google Scholar
  10. Chibisa P, Ruzive A, Mandipa CT (2010) The 2000-2004 fast track land reform programme and biodiversity issues in the middle save conservancy. J Sustain Dev Afr 12:74–100Google Scholar
  11. CITES (1992) Quotas for trade in specimens of cheetah. CITES Doc 8.2 (Rev). In: Eight meeting of the conference of the parties, Kyoto, Japan, 2–13 August. CITES, Geneva. https://www.cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/08/doc/E-22.pdf. Accessed 13 September 2017
  12. Cullen L, Alger K, Rambaldi DM (2005) Land reform and biodiversity conservation in Brazil in the 1990s: conflict and the articulation of mutual interests. Conserv Biol 19:747–755CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davison B (1999a) An estimate of the status of the cheetah in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, HarareGoogle Scholar
  14. Davison B (1999b) Zimbabwe’s cheetah policy and management plan. Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, HarareGoogle Scholar
  15. Di Minin E, Slotow R, Hunter LTB, Montesino Pouzols F, Toivonen T, Verburg PH, Leader- Williams N, Petracca L, Moilanen A (2016) Global priorities for national carnivore conservation under land use change. Sci Rep.  https://doi.org/10.1038/srep23814 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Dickman AJ, Hinks AE, Macdonald EA, Burnham D, Macdonald DW (2015) Priorities for global felid conservation. Conserv Biol 29:854–864CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. du Toit R (2004) Review of wildlife issues associated with the land reform programme in Zimbabwe. WWF-SARPO Occasional paper no. 10, HarareGoogle Scholar
  18. Dudley N (2008) Guidelines for applying protected area management categories. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland. http://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/import/downloads/iucn_assignment_1.pdf. Accessed 13 Sept 2017
  19. Durant S, Mitchell N, Ipavec A, Groom R (2015) Acinonyx jubatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
  20. Durant SM et al (2017) The global decline of cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and what it means for conservation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:528–533CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. EU (2014) Larger than elephants, inputs for the design of an EU strategic approach to wildlife conservation in Africa. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  22. Faleiro FV, Machado RB, Loyola RD (2013) Defining spatial conservation priorities in the face of land-use and climate change. Biol Conserv 158:248–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gros PM, Kelly MJ, Caro TM (1996) Estimating carnivore densities for conservation purposes: indirect methods compared to baseline demographic data. Oikos 77:197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hazzah J, Borgerhoff Mulder M, Frank L (2009) Lions and Warriors: social factors underlying declining African lion populations and the effect of incentive-based management in Kenya. Biol Conserv 142:2428–2437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hill KA (1994) Politicians, farmers and ecologists; commercial wildlife ranching and the politics of land in Zimbabwe. J Asian Afr Stud 29:226–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. IUCN/SSC (2007) Regional conservation strategy for the cheetah and African wild dog in Southern Africa. IUCN, GlandGoogle Scholar
  27. IUCN/SSC (2015) Regional conservation strategy for the cheetah and African wild dog in Southern Africa, revised and updated version. IUCN, Gland. http://www.cheetahandwilddog.org/regional-strategies. Accessed 13 Sept 2017
  28. Jacquier M, Woodfine T (2007) A pilot GPS study on a single male cheetah in Zimbabwe. Cat News 47:17–19Google Scholar
  29. Kepe T, Wynberg R, Ellis W (2005) Land reform and biodiversity conservation in South Africa: complementary of in conflict? Int J Biodivers Sci Manag 1:3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lindsey PA, Alexander R, du Toit JT, Mills MGL (2005) The cost efficiency of wild dog conservation in South Africa. Conserv Biol 19:1205–1214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lindsey PA, Roulet PA, Romañach SS (2007a) Economic and conservation significance of trophy hunting in sub-Saharan Africa. Biol Conserv 134:455–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindsey PA, Alexander R, Mills MGL, Romañach S, Woodroffe R (2007b) Wildlife viewing preferences of visitors to protected areas in South Africa: implications for the role of ecotourism in conservation. J Ecotour 6:19–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marker LL, Dickman AJ, Mills MGL, Jeo RM, Macdonald DW (2008) Spatial ecology of cheetahs on north-central Namibian farmlands. J Zool 274:226–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marnewick K, Ferreira SM, Grange S, Watermeyer J, Maputla N, Davies-Mostert HT (2014) Evaluating the Status of and African wild dogs Lycaon pictus and cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus through tourist-based photographic surveys in the Kruger National Park. PLoS ONE.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086265 PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. MEWC (2015) Zimbabwe’s fifth national report to the convention of biodiversity. Ministry of Environment Water and Climate, Harare. https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/zw/zw-nr-05-en.pdf. Accessed 13 Sept 2017
  36. Myers N (1975) The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus in Africa. IUCN Monograph No. 4 IUCN, MorgesGoogle Scholar
  37. Nagelkerke N (1991) A note on a general definition of the coefficient of determination. Biometrika 78:691–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pagiola S, Agostini P, Gobbi J, de Haan C, Ibrahim M, Murgueitio E, Ramírez E, Rosales M, Ruíz JP (2005) Paying for biodiversity conservation services: experience in Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Mt Res Dev 25:206–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pellegrini L, Dasgupta A (2011) Land reform in Bolivia: the forestry question. Conserv Soc 9:274–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pimm SL, Jenkins CN, Abell R, Brooks TM, Gittleman JL, Joppa LN, Raven PH, Roberts CM, Sexton JO (2014) The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection. Science 344:1246752CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Purchase GK, du Toit JT (2000) The use of space and prey by cheetahs in Matusadona National Park. Zimbabwe S Afr J Wildl Res 30:139–144Google Scholar
  42. Ray JC, Hunter L, Zigouris J (2005) Setting conservation and research priorities for larger African carnivores. WCS Working Paper 24. Wildlife Conservation Society, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Ripple WJ et al (2014) Status and ecological effects of the world’s largest carnivores. Science.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1241484 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Romañach SS, Lindsey PA, Woodroffe R (2007) Determinants of attitudes towards predators in central Kenya and suggestions for increasing tolerance in livestock dominated landscapes. Oryx 41:185–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scoones I, Marongwe N, Mavedzenge B, Murimbarimba F, Mahenehene J, Sukume C (2011) Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: A summary of findings. IDS, Brighton. http://zimbabweland.net/Zimbabwe’s%20Land%20Reform%20Booklet%20Web.pdf. Accessed 13 Sept 2017
  46. Stein AB, Fuller TK, Damery DT, Sievert L, Marker LL (2010) Farm management and economic analyses of leopard conservation in north-central Namibia. Anim Conserv 13:419–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Taylor R (2009) Community based natural resource management in Zimbabwe: the experience of CAMPFIRE. Biodivers Conserv 18:2563–2583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Van der Meer E (2016) The cheetahs of Zimbabwe: distribution and population status 2015. CCPZ, Victoria FallsGoogle Scholar
  49. Van der Meer E (2017) Human-cheetah conflict subsistence and commercial farmers. Zenodo.  https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.998012 Google Scholar
  50. Van der Meer E, Badza M, Ndhlovu A (2016) Large carnivores as tourism flagship species for the Zimbabwe component of the Kavango Zambezi transfrontier conservation area. Afr J Wildl Res 46:121–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vien HT (2011) The linkage between land reform and land use changes: a case of Vietnam. J Soil Sci Environ Manag 2:88–96Google Scholar
  52. Watson JEM, Dudley N, Segan DB, Hockings M (2014) The performance and potential of protected areas. Nature 515:67–73CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. White PCL, Vaughan Jennings N, Renwick AR, Barker NHL (2005) Questionnaires in ecology: a review of past use and recommendations for best practice. J Appl Ecol 42:421–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Williams ST (2007) Status of the cheetah in Zimbabwe. Cat News 3:32–36Google Scholar
  55. Williams ST (2011) The impact of land reform in Zimbabwe on the conservation of cheetahs and other large carnivores. Dissertation, Durham UniversityGoogle Scholar
  56. Williams ST, Williams KS, Joubert CJ, Hill RA (2016) The impact of land reform on the status of large carnivores in Zimbabwe. PeerJ.  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1537 Google Scholar
  57. Wilson VJ (1988) Distribution and status of cheetah in Zimbabwe. Chipangali Wildlife Trust, BulawayoGoogle Scholar
  58. Wilson AM, Lowe JC, Roskilly PE, Hudson PE, Golabek KA, McNutt JW (2013) Locomotion dynamics of hunting wild cheetahs. Nature 498:185–189CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Winterbach HEK, Winterbach CW, Somers MJ, Hayward MW (2013) Key factors and related principles in the conservation of large African carnivores. Mamm Rev 43:89–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Woodroffe R, Ginsberg JR (2008) Edge effects and the extinction of populations inside protected areas. Science 280:2126–2128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. ZimStat (2015) Zimbabwe poverty atlas August 2015. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, Causeway, Harare http://www.zimstat.co.zw/sites/default/files/img/Poverty_Atlas.pdf. Accessed 13 Sept 2017
  62. ZPWMA (2009) National Conservation Action Plan for cheetahs and wild dog in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Harare. http://www.cheetahandwilddog.org/southern-africa-national-action-plans. Accessed 13 Sept 2017

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cheetah Conservation Project ZimbabweVictoria FallsZimbabwe
  2. 2.Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife ManagementNational University of Science and TechnologyBulawayoZimbabwe

Personalised recommendations