Community, lions, livestock and money: A spatial and social analysis of attitudes to wildlife and the conservation value of tourism in a human-carnivore conflict in Botswana
Hemson G., Maclennan S., Mills G., Johnson P., Macdonald D.
We quantified livestock (cattle, shoats, horses and donkeys) losses to lions (Panthera leo) and attitudes to lions, livestock losses and tourism among livestock owners, village residents and tourism workers around Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana. Losses were not correlated with the size or structure of livestock enclosures, numbers of dogs or herders. Rather losses increased with the amount of livestock owned. Most were stray animals preyed upon at night. Attitudes to wildlife, conservation and lions were also not consistently distributed within the society we studied. Negative attitudes to lions were almost ubiquitous among cattleposts but less widespread among people living in the more urbanized society of villages or among people working in tourism. Although four tourist camps were operating in the area, benefits from these operations were largely limited to employees. Despite considerable sums of money being paid to Botswana by local tourist facilities few respondents viewed tourism as valuable and most felt that the government and not they or their community was the main beneficiary of tourism. Tourism employees made up a small sub-section of the adult population drawn predominately from larger villages while the costs of livestock losses were spread among cattleposts near the park boundary. These same cattlepost respondents were not prepared to improve stock care to protect livestock, but indicated a willingness to kill lions instead. If tourism is to play a role in reducing human-wildlife conflict, communities must not be regarded as homogenous entities into which to distribute benefits evenly. Benefits might usefully be distributed in relation to the costs of coexisting with wildlife or used as incentives to better protect livestock or other human resources. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.