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Human-Elephant Conflict and Coexistence in Botswana: The Ecoexist Project
September 14 • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Applied Biodiversity Seminar
Presented by Dr. Anna Songhurst (Field and Program Director), Graham McCulloch (Policy Director), and Amanda Stronza (Research Director), The Ecoexist Project
Abstract: In the eastern Okavango Panhandle of Botswana, roughly 18,000 elephants compete with 16,000 people for access to water, food, and land. The elephants are not confined to any park, reserve, or nation. They roam freely, often in places where people are planting fields, herding livestock, and walking their children home from school. Each year during the dry season, the elephants begin to move in large numbers, heading to permanent waters of the Okavango Delta. Along the way, they pass through villages and settlements, using distinct corridors they remember and have followed for generations. With time, more and more elephants are coming into contact with more and more people. Wild lands are being converted to agricultural fields and the elephants’ range is expanding, bringing people and elephants increasingly in conflict. Elephants will raid and trample crops, and people will clear land for new farms. Sometimes the encounters result in death, for elephants and for people.
The Ecoexist Project is a collaborative effort of farmers, researchers, village leaders, policy makers, and business people, working together to find solutions to human-elephant conflict. The presentation will focus on the scientific underpinnings, philosophy, and on-the-ground conservation strategies of Ecoexist as an example of connecting research and practical interventions with policy, and taking a holistic, social-ecological approach to meeting the needs of people and wildlife.
The speakers are Co-founders and Directors of Ecoexist, Dr. Anna Songhurst, conservation biologist and elephant expert (Ecoexist, Oxford, TAMU), Dr. Graham McCulloch, conservation ecologist (Ecoexist, Oxford, TAMU), and Dr. Amanda Stronza, anthropologist (Ecoexist, TAMU).
For more information about Ecoexist: http://www.ecoexistproject.org
For a listing of other ABS Seminars, visit our seminar page.