Human-Lion Co-existence in Botswana


Vince Shacks


Ensuring a roaring tomorrow

Working with neighbouring communities, we aim to reduce human-lion conflict and foster co-existence.


In partnership with the CLAWS Conservancy (Communities Living Among Wildlife Sustainably), a collaboration was born to foster a pride in our prides. It’s about building a strong, inclusive programme for exchanging ideas, developing incentives that form a larger wildlife economy in the region, and using technology to our advantage.


A strong, inclusive program for exchanging ideas, developing incentives that form a larger wildlife economy in the region.

The problem

The excessive killing of lions on the fringes of the Okavango Delta where communities and wildlife co-exist.

The cause

Lions were being poisoned in retaliation for the number of cattle they were killing in these rural villages.

The solution

Mitigating conflict and interaction while stimulating a conservation economy that values wildlife.

Our approach to solving it

To start with, we needed to acknowledge that where people and dangerous wildlife exist, there will likely always be conflict. Mitigating this conflict as much as possible takes several steps.


  • First, we start with limiting interaction.
  • Once we believe we have done everything to limit interaction, we need to look at the costs and benefits for the people who are forced to live with dangerous wildlife.
  • We aim to increase incentives to people in exchange for greater tolerance of these dangerous species.
  • We support partner organisations, such as CLAWS, with fundraising for conflict mitigation.
  • But our biggest potential for positive change comes through the stimulation of a conservation economy, which in this case can be done through the purchase of wildlife friendly beef for our tourism lodges.

The Wildlife Friendly Beef project, not only encourages limited interaction between lions and cattle, protecting wildlife, but also empowers small scale cattle owners with increased revenue from the sale of their animals.


Okavango Delta:
Wild, vast, abundant

Explore Okavango Delta

Our results and progress

The efforts in the region, currently driven and led largely by CLAWS, have resulted in the doubling of the local lion population since 2013.


The progress in this region is mainly as a result of the early-warning alert system which is used to notify community members when lions are approaching their areas. There are currently 250 people signed up for the CLAWS alerts representing approximately 1,500 people (through households) reached.


Wilderness is now working closely with organisations such as CLAWS to pioneer the first Wildlife Friendly Beef initiative, allowing Wilderness to purchase beef from those farmers who have implemented safe community herding practices which protect both cattle and lions.


Project start date


Increase in lion population


Community members involved


Families supported

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