Communal Herding for Lion and Livestock Protection

Creating a conservation landscape in which both livestock and wildlife can thrive

This rather marvelous communal herding programme by CLAWS (Communities Living Alongside Wildlife Sustainably) safeguards cattle, creates employment, reduces retaliatory killing of lions and restores overgrazed landscapes.

Beyond the borders of protected areas in Botswana, wide-ranging wildlife commonly come into contact with livestock, which has led to an increasing loss of livestock to lions and other predators. Such losses have important cultural and survival implications for communities and often result in retaliatory killing of lions. When poison is used, the negative effects on other species can be enormous, particularly within the vulture population.

This CLAWS project, that Natural Selection has funded since its inception in 2019, addresses the issue by establishing livestock herding practices of the past, whereby herds were accompanied by a herder at all times to reduce predation. In this case, herds and herding efforts are consolidated so that communities can better afford the costs of herding and jointly protect livestock from predators. An additional advantage is controlled grazing that can reduce the decimation of grasslands. The ultimate goal is a conservation landscape in which both livestock and wildlife can thrive.

For the last 3 years, we have been funding the addition of a Lion Alert System, whereby lions are collared and their location signals enable herders to know when lions are dangerously close to livestock.

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