Story

Conserving Wildlife and Alleviating Poverty in Zimbabwe—with Livestock

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Dawn at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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The herders prepare to move cattle to a place where they will graze for the day. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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This type of biting ant, or inyebe, made life miserable for villagers in Sianyanga. Now that the grass is growing again, they are rarely seen anymore. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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A kudu in high grass where until recently the ground was bare and unable to sustain large numbers of antelope. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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Sable antelope require a diversity of wild grasses in order to thrive. Here’s one of several healthy herds of sable found at the Africa Centre. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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An elephant cooling its heels along the banks of the Zambezi. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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Deep into the dry season, the Dimbangombe River is still flowing. It now extends one kilometer further than it has in recent memory. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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A young woman carries water for the household in rural Sizinda. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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In Sizinda, Allan Savory listens to community leaders discuss how holistic planned grazing has improved their land. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

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An acacia tree silhouetted at dusk in Zimbabwe. Image by Tony Eprile. Zimbabwe, 2016.

As in many dryland regions, southern Africa is facing widespread desertification and drought. In Zimbabwe, ecological pressures coupled with political disenfranchisement have left rural communities struggling to meet basic needs. People go further into the bush to hunt and grow crops, which infringes on wildlife habitat. However, villages working with the Africa Centre for Holistic Management have been able to revive their land while restoring water sources. How? By managing cattle so that their behavior mimics that of the wild herds of herbivores that created and maintained grassland savannas.