The great fencing debate
Conservationists working throughout Africa have recently engaged in a fascinating fencing debate about how best to conserve wide-ranging wildlife, such as lions. The debate centred on a single important question: should protected areas in Africa be fenced? As human populations on the continent continue to increase, this timely debate provides food for thought as we contemplate the future of Africa’s wildlife under growing human pressure.
The debate centres around lion conservation, yet has important implications for many other wildlife species. As Africa’s largest predator, the lion is seen as a key species for conservation. Because they roam over large areas, require large numbers of prey, and are especially feared by humans, it appears that if we can conserve lions effectively, then we can conserve their associated ecosystems and a host of other species. I present the cases for and against fencing, as expressed by Africa’s top predator conservation scientists, and look into some of the implications of this debate for Botswana.
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