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Texas A&M University (2020)

In the Era of Elephants : Rural Change and Vulnerability in the Okavango Delta, Botswa

Redmore, Lauren Elizabeth

Titre : In the Era of Elephants : Rural Change and Vulnerability in the Okavango Delta, Botswa

Auteur : Redmore, Lauren Elizabeth

Université de soutenance : Texas A&M University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2020

Résumé
Negative interactions between humans and elephants are a concern in places where they cohabitate. Elephants threaten the lives and livelihoods of individual people, and people are an existential threat to the survival of elephants. In the Eastern Panhandle of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, the population of elephants has doubled in the past ten years and 16,000 people share space and resources with 18,000 elephants. I ask how are individuals, households, and communities vulnerable and how do they adapt to life with elephants ? Through a year of mixed method ethnographic research in Mokgacha Village, I 1) explore how people harvest firewood, 2) investigate how people make resettlement decisions, and 3) document the relationship between resettlement decisions, firewood harvest, and vulnerability to elephants. Gender, age, and ethnicity influence livelihoods and mediate how people are vulnerable to elephants. People adapt by harvesting firewood in groups, changing the time of day they harvest, collecting elephant-felled firewood, and sharing firewood across households. Men are more vulnerable to elephants due to cattle-based livelihoods that put them at risk to unwanted interactions with elephants. Historically, resettlement was driven by access to resources, cooperation with others, and exposure to disease. Today, people resettle in part due to elephants, but also due to changing livelihood opportunities and infrastructural development. People resettle around family in part because family networks facilitate informal resource-sharing strategies that buffer vulnerability of elders and foster community resilience. National villagization policies centralize residential plot allocation decisions and threaten to spatially separate households, with impacts on informal resource-sharing strategies and resident vulnerability to elephants.

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Page publiée le 24 mai 2021