Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) programmes are designed to ensure that rural residents benefit from conservation initiatives. But where human-wildlife conflict threatens life and livelihood, wildlife impacts can undermine the goals of CBNRM. Based on research on women's experiences in Namibia's Kwandu Conservancy, we examine both the visible and hidden impacts of human-wildlife conflict. In Kwandu Conservancy, the effects of human-wildlife conflict are ongoing, reaching beyond direct material losses to include hidden impacts such as persistent worries about food insecurity, fears for physical safety, and lost investments. Existing vulnerabilities related to poverty and marital statuses make some women more susceptible to wildlife impacts, and less able to recover from losses or to access compensation. This process may actually deepen the vulnerability of women whose economic status is already marginal. Because the benefits of wildlife conservation accrue at multiple scales, we recommend that the cost of human-wildlife conflict be better distributed, with additional resources for prevention and compensation made available for conservancy residents.
- human-wildlife conflict