Action: Resettle illegal human communities (i.e. in a protected area) to another location
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One review on mountain gorillas in Uganda found that no more gorillas were killed after illegal settlers were relocated from the area, alongside other interventions.
- One before-and-after study in the Republic of Congo found that most reintroduced chimpanzees survived over five years after human communities were resettled, from the protected area alongside other interventions.
The resettlement of people from existing or newly-established protected areas to increase protection of the habitat and the species living in it, is inherently political and hotly debated (Adams & Hutton 2007). The intervention is based on the notion that settlements and the actions of the people living in these settlements threaten the integrity of the natural area that is under protection. Therefore, the intervention involves moving the people from inside the protected area to the outside. Examples of resettled communities include the people from the Nechasar National Park in southern Ethiopia, before handing the area over to the African Parks Foundation, displacements in Korup National Park, Cameroon, through a progressive resettlement scheme of the Ekundukundu Village, or the eviction of Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Adams & Hutton 2007).
Adams W.M. & Hutton J. (2007) People, parks and poverty: political ecology and biodiversity conservation. Conservation and Society, 5, 147–183.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A review of mountain gorillas Gorilla beringei beringei in 1972-1989 in tropical montane forest in Eastern Virungas Conservation Area, Uganda found that no gorillas were killed in 1989-1990 after human settlers were relocated from an area inside the Gorilla Game Reserve alongside other interventions. This area represented important gorilla habitat and was 3 km2 in size. At the same time, the game guard force was also increased from three to 13 men, provided with better equipment, and trained and supervised by researchers who started working in the area as part of a permanent research project. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.
A before-and-after trial in 1994-1999 in mixed tropical dry and swamp forest in Conkouati-Douli National Park, Republic of Congo found that the majority of reintroduced central chimpanzees Pan troglodytes troglodytes survived for at least five years when resident illegal human communities were resettled to another location along with 16 other interventions. Fourteen out of 20 reintroduced chimpanzees (70%) survived until at least the end of the study. No statistical tests were carried out to determine whether the population decrease was significant. Thirteen local people that lived at the release site were moved to a village nearby. Rehabilitated orphaned chimpanzees underwent vaccination, treatment for parasites and veterinary screens before being radio-collared and translocated in four subgroups to the release site where wild chimpanzees lived. Staff members were permanently present to monitor primate health, provide animals with additional food if necessary and detect and examine dead animals. The area status was upgraded from a reserve to a national park in 1999. Some individuals were treated when sick or injured. TV and radio advertisements were used to raise chimpanzee conservation awareness and local people were provided monetary and non-monetary benefits in exchange for their conservation support. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.
- Butynski T.M., Werikhe S.E. & Kalina J. (1990) Status, distribution and conservation of the mountain gorilla in the Gorilla Game Reserve, Uganda. Primate Conservation, 11, 31-41
- Tutin C.E.G., Ancrenaz M., Paredes J., Vacher-Vallas M., Vidal C., Goossens B., Bruford M.W. & Jamart A. (2001) The conservation biology framework of the release of wild-born orphaned chimpanzees into the Conkouati Reserve, Congo. Conservation Biology, 15, 1247-1257