Community Game Guards: On the Front Lines of Conservation

Written by Sean Koenig, ChangeStream Media Co-founder

Having a ghost in your apartment is scary; having a pride of lions hunting the cattle you are herding is terrifying. In much of southern Africa, the answer to the age-old question, “Who you gonna call?” is a Community Game Guard.

Game Guards are the central pillar of Community-Based Natural Resource Management, a highly effective approach allowing local communities to benefit from conservation. The basic premise is simple: hire locals to protect and monitor wildlife; increased wildlife allows for eco-tourism and/or sustainable trophy hunting; economic development funds the Game Guards and compensates community members adversely affected by the wildlife.

The critical question is how to turn community members who are often poorly educated into Naturalist-Park-Ranger-Super-Heroes. A big part of the solution is a little yellow workbook developed in Namibia called the Event Book.

The Event Book is a simple, powerful tool that allows communities to monitor their natural resources in a scientifically rigorous manner regardless of educational level. In this video we look at how the Salambala Conservancy in the Zambezi region of Namibia has implemented this approach, with help from the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation organization and the World Wildlife Fund. Our hope is that other communities can use this resource to start their own wildlife tracking and anti-poaching programs: