At this stage the below list represents only a tentative inventory with brief bullet points. A more elaborated description will require extensive consultations with community groups, households as well as private individuals from the area.
The (‘eco-tourism’) approach is based on the assumption that if relevant designed community based natural resources use management is put in place resulting in a situation where the benefits - including from tourism activities - from living with wildlife outweigh the costs then communities will react rationally and respond positively – including to reduce or stop illegal hunting - and start managing resources in a more ‘responsible’ and conservation oriented way – to the benefit of all.
The idea behind the scheme is to make a direct link between sightings of wildlife and benefits to the community.
When guests to Sioma Camp on either a bush drive or during a bush walk see one species of wildlife (not number of individuals) a small fee will be paid to the village/community situated closest to the area where the sighting took place.
For Sioma Camp the beneficiary villages are Kabula 2, Mwanambao and Sikuka.
In essence you could say that the villagers are being paid for NOT poaching. Hopefully the system will contribute to the villagers realization that wildlife has a value, and that this value is in fact higher than the value they will get from poaching (through sale of bush meat).
In practise the system operates like this:
bush drive or walk the driver/guide will tick off the various game
species encountered during the trip. The ticking off will be done in
consultation and in agreement with the guests. After the trip the
guests and the driver/guide will sign the ‘tick off’ list. The group
of guests will be charged the accumulated amount for the number of
species sightings on top of the fee paid to Sioma Camp for the
activity. Based on our experiences from recent conducted bush
drives/walks the average amount would probably be around US$ 25 per
trip, the amount to be shared among the guests. So, using the
average amount as an example, if there are 5 guests the amount to be
paid by each guest would be US$ 5.
Please note that the scheme is a pilot scheme and is so far voluntary for our guests.
The funds collected will be handed over to a representative of the Village Action Groups in the three villages. The system will be monitored closely in order to make sure that the funds from the scheme will actually be allocated to activities/purchases that will benefit the respective communities, i. e. support to schools, health clinics, water supply systems etc.
We hope our guests will support the system. In our view, unless communities start benefiting from wildlife in their vicinities, they will keep on poaching and the end result will be the near total extermination of all game in the various areas and overall depreciation of the ‘value’ of local natural resources.
As a guest this could be your direct contribution to assist in saving African wildlife and to show that it is possible for wildlife and people to co-exist and even benefit from each other.
Comments on the scheme in general, ideas on how to improve it or other ideas are most welcome.