Competition Between Wildlife and Livestock in Africa

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Competition between wildlife and livestock is reviewed using published material on competition between wildlife and livestock and between different ungulate species in Africa and elsewhere. Different types of competition are discerned, and the effect of predators on livestock is reviewed too. Information on competition is scarce. Even though diet overlap between livestock and some African ungulates is considerable, there is too little evidence on food limitation of livestock populations; this makes the conclusion that livestock numbers are (potentially) reduced by the presence of wildlife untenable. Wildlife numbers, however, are negatively affected by livestock numbers. This is mainly due to human activities, including habitat modification, direct and indirect extermination, and denial of access to resources. Diffuse competition, that is, competition between livestock and guilds of wild herbivores within which specific species that are negatively affected cannot be indicated, appears important too.

The economic costs of livestock to the wildlife industry can be high, especially due to disease transfer; the economic costs of wildlife to the livestock industry appears to be negligible except when predation is considered.

Livestock and wildlife have about the same potential to produce products for human consumption from savanna vegetations; assemblages of wild ungulates are

about equivalent to assemblages of different domestic species (cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys and camels). Livestock appears to be superior for the exploitation by local people if animal production is aimed at self-sufficiency. This is mainly caused by the decreased risk of insufficient production due to the livestock’s capacity to produce reasonably high quantities of milk and, in some cultures, blood. The wildlife’s potential to produce added value in the form of trophies or for the support of tourism and recreation makes wildlife exploitation economically more attractive than livestock exploitation in a market economy.