Co-existing with wildlife in Namibia's conservancies. A case study on the relationship between human-wildlife conflict and attitudes of local communities and the influence of communal conservancies on this relationship

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Local communities in Namibia are enabled to live with wildlife through communal conservancies. These conservancies are clearly defined tracts of land, registered with government, where local communities manage their natural resources through a democratically elected committee and approved management plans. Human-wildlife conflict threatens the co-existence of people with wildlife. The theory of social representations is used in this research to analyse how the attitudes towards wildlife of local communities are formed by experiencing HWC, frames and the practices of the conservancy. Four practices have been identified in literature: compensation, mitigation, participation and benefit-distribution. Two frames have been uncovered through 38 interviews in two conservancies (#Khoadi-//Hôas and Ehi Rovipuka): co-existing with wildlife and wildlife as heritage. The practices altogether have influence on how people viewed wildlife under the strains of HWC. The individual impact differs from person to person, for example through employment. All contribute to the sense of ownership, most importantly participation, that enables local communities to endure Human-Wildlife conflict. Communal conservancies make the difference in lives of individuals that enables them to live together with (dangerous) wildlife in the harsh surroundings of Namibia’s desserts.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen