The Okavango Delta in Botswana hosts abundant wildlife and a human population with diverse livelihoods. Representing a heterogeneous landscape nuanced by spatial and temporal variability, the region has recently seen an expansion of floodwaters with social impacts ranging from livelihood disruption to human displacement. This article reports on in-depth interviews conducted in 2012 regarding these transitions in Mababe, a community in the eastern Okavango Delta, to evaluate how dynamic environmental processes alter perceptions and livelihood responses. We focus on community members’ variable interactions with wildlife in spaces of human–wildlife overlap also experiencing change. While human–wildlife interactions can have negative effects, we find that perpetuating the common narrative of human–wildlife conflict overlooks how disruptions can usher in new relationships between people and animals. In order to move beyond the conflict narrative, we conclude that spatial and temporal context is essential to evaluate effects of dynamic, uneven, and sometimes unpredictable human–wildlife encounters.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science