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2006-12-01 | Discussion Paper

Can local communities in Zimbabwe be trusted with wildlife management?: Evidence from contingent valuation of elephants

Muchapondwa, E., Carlsson, F., and G. Kohlin. 2006. “Can local communities in Zimbabwe be trusted with wildlife management?: Evidence from contingent valuation of elephants”. ERSA Working Paper 52 (December).
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If local communities living adjacent to the elephant see it as a burden, then they cannot be trusted to be its stewards. To assess their valuation of it, a CVM study was conducted for one CAMPFIRE district in Zimbabwe.

Respondents were classifed according to their preferences over the elephant. The median WTP for the preservation of 200 elephants is ZW$260 (US$4.73) for respondents who considered the elephant a public good while the same statistic is ZW$137 (US$2.49) for those favouring its translocation. The preservation of 200 elephants yields an annual net worth of ZW$10,828 (US$196) to CAMPFIRE households. However, the majority of households (62%) do not support elephant preservation. This is one argument against devolution of elephant conservation to local communities. Adequate economic incentives must be extended to local communities if their majority is to partake in sound elephant conservation. External transfers constitute one way of providing additional economic incentives.