Human Dimensions of Human-Elephant Conflict in Botswana: Exploring Visible and Hidden Well-Being Impacts

Mayberry, Allison
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University of Guelph

High densities of wild African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) combined with widespread agricultural land use has led to increasing human-elephant conflict in Botswana’s rural north. As documented within the existing scholarship, negative encounters with elephants have visible impacts (e.g. crop/property damage, injury/fatality) on the well-being of humans who live amongst them. By contrast, hidden impacts (e.g. restricted movements, stress and emotional strain, disrupted routines) remain poorly examined. Using social research methods, this thesis explores the diverse ways in which conflict with elephants impacts the perceived well-being of humans living in Greater Khumaga. It reveals that participants are most concerned about food insecurity stemming from crop raids, as well as safety, mobility, and resource access issues stemming from elephant veld presence. It further demonstrates that tensions between the government and community exacerbate well-being circumstances. Overall, this research emphasizes the importance of attending to visible and hidden well-being impacts of human-elephant conflict.

human-wildlife conflict, Botswana, elephants, conservation social sciences, rural livelihoods, well-being