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Accepted Paper:

Wildlife, violence and border disputes along the Linyanti/Chobe river between Botswana and Namibia  
Luregn Lenggenhager (University of Cologne) Emmanuel Mogende (University of Botswana)

Paper short abstract:

This paper retraces historical border disputes and ongoing violent wildlife conflict along the Chobe river. We show the discrepancy between the experiences of people living along the river and the long-lasting friendship between the two governments, for example in their involvement in the KAZA TFCA.

Paper long abstract:

Through the lens of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfontier Conservation areas (KAZA-TFCA), we explore how green violence orchestrated by Botswana’s militarised anti-poaching units has aggravated tense relations between people living along the border river and the Botswana government– and continues to do so. Wildlife is a crucial economic and political asset of Botswana and increasingly also of the Namibian Zambezi region on the other side of the river. The high value of certain species, such as elephants, large cats, and even rhinos, linked them inextricably with conservation, tourism, and therefore poaching and militarized border policing. This regularly leads to harassment and even the killing of people living along the river on the Namibian side. As we will show in our paper, there is a large discrepancy between the close political collaboration and long-lasting friendship of the two countries, as presented for example in the joint initiative for wildlife protection (e.g. the KAZA-TFCA), and the violent ground realities along the river. The situation along the Linyanti/Chobe river is complicated by long-lasting conflicts over the exact position of the national border (e.g. Sedudu/Kasikili Island) as well as disputes over hunting and fishing regulations. In our paper, we combine micro-level histories and experiences of people living along the border with political and legal analyses of the inter-governmental relationship between the two countries and their respective wildlife and conservation policies.

Panel Envi08
Reconfiguring the role of state borders and species boundaries in nature conservation
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -