AHEAD Program (multifaceted technical assistance on challenges at the livestock / wildlife interface)

Rockefeller Foundation; UK Dept of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; private individuals
Government of Botswana (Vet Services & Wildlife); KAZA Secretariat and KAZA Partner States; SADC livestock sector; and a range of local and international NGOs - CLAWS Conservancy; Herding for Health; Wild Entrust; Ecoexist
Unless the vast fences across the KAZA landscape are holistically addressed, the entire premise of habitat connectivity that underpins the KAZA transboundary conservation concept will remain out of reach. For the first time in 70 years, we are on the verge of a win-win situation for farmers and for the environment, through a new approach to land-use management, good for agriculture and for ecotourism, that will be socially, ecologically and economically sustainable for generations to come. No one else has found a way to produce safe beef in FMD-endemic areas that does not completely depend on fences. With continued support, we see genuine "change for good" and system resilience being within reach, in no small part due to the commitments of our long-term partners in the region.

Our work is focused on promoting sectorally integrative land-use policy and practice in KAZA. Across much of KAZA, the conservation of wildlife is often in conflict with livestock production; infectious agents that can be carried by wild animals, particularly foot and mouth disease viruses, have made it difficult or impossible for beef farmers to enter the world market, due to restrictions based on the livestock’s proximity to wildlife. However, the current solution—vast fencing to separate livestock and wildlife—interrupts wild animal migration pathways and endangers population survival. Our work focuses on facilitating rural livestock value chain processes that ensure beef is biosafe for international sale—eliminating the historical dependence on fences and thus allowing for cross-sectoral harmonization. The ecological integrity of KAZA depends on restoring/maintaining six “wildlife dispersal areas,” also known as habitat corridors— areas that must not be blocked by fences or other obstacles. Our pilot work in KAZA has the potential to be applied across other TFCAs in SADC. We have already developed the definitive guide on our new approach, which was recently adopted by SADC as an official guideline for the entire region (see URLs below). Our barriers to scaling-up are primarily related to our own current capacity— signficant policy "heavy lifting"  has been done, given our development of concrete protocols and a successful 2015 effort to change international WTO/OIE rules for beef trade based on our pilot work. If we can scale-up our efforts and undertake more training-of-trainers and engagement with national governments, we believe we can help resolve one of the most intractable land-use and development conundrums the conservation community has long been stymied by. PDFs of our key programmatic work products are freely downloadable at:


Also see:




Specific Area (Village, Town, District, Province): 
North West
HQ of the Initiative: 
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA
2003 to 2021
Is the timeframe likely to be extended?: 
Elaborate on likelihood to extend: 
Ongoing. Our longest-term funding (from the Rockefeller Foundation) ends in June 2021.
Thematic Focus: 
Agriculture, HWC mitigation, Integrated Land Use Planning & Implementation, Policy & Leg frameworks
Other Thematic Focuses: 
Veterinary challenges at livestock/wildlife interface; commodity based trade of beef incl. re-evaluation of veterinary cordon fencing policies
1st Contact Name: 
Steve Osofsky
1st Contact Email: 
2nd Contact Name: 
Shirley Atkinson
2nd Contact Email: