Human–wildlife conflict in Mozambique: a national perspective, with emphasis on wildlife attacks on humans

Kevin M. Dunhama1 c1, Andrea Ghiurghia2, Rezia Cumbia3 and Ferdinando Urbanoa2

a1 P.O. Box CH385, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe.

a2 AGRECO G.E.I.E. c/o Agriconsulting S.p.A., Rome, Italy

a3 Direcção Nacional de Terras e Florestas, Maputo, Mozambique


Human–wildlife conflicts are common across Africa. In Mozambique, official records show that wildlife killed 265 people during 27 months (July 2006 to September 2008). Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus, lion Panthera leo, elephant Loxodonta africana and hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius caused most deaths but crocodiles were responsible for 66%. Crocodile attacks occurred across Mozambique but 53% of deaths occurred in districts bordering Lake Cabora Bassa and the Zambezi River. Hippopotamus attacks were also concentrated here. Lion attacks occurred mainly in northern Mozambique and, while people were attacked by elephants across the country, 67% of deaths occurred in northern Mozambique. Attacks by lions, elephants or hippopotamuses were relatively rare but additional data will probably show that attacks by these species are more widespread than the preliminary records suggest. Buffalo Syncerus caffer, hyaena Crocuta crocuta and leopard Panthera pardus were minor conflict species. Good land-use planning, a long-term solution to many conflicts, is particularly relevant in Mozambique, where the crocodile and hippopotamus populations of protected areas are often in rivers that border these areas, and cause conflicts outside them, and where people commonly live within protected areas. Poverty may prompt fishermen to risk crocodile attack by entering rivers or lakes. The high incidence of conflicts near Limpopo and South Africa’s Kruger National Parks (both within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area) highlights the problems created for people by facilitating the unrestricted movement of wildlife between protected areas across their land.

(Received April 21 2009)

(Reviewed June 29 2009)

(Accepted July 31 2009)


c1 P.O. Box CH385, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe. E-mail faykevin@zol.co.zw