Exploring the Social Impacts of Wildlife Conservation in Ethiopia: Past Experiences and Future Directions

Kabeta Legese


Establishing protected areas is a predominant wildlife conservation effort across Africa. Such strategy, however, has inevitable social and economic impacts to the local people. Social impacts and conservation require equal attention because it is the foundations for alliances with social groups to address common concerns. This makes social impact assessment a very crucial tool to understand the long run impacts of wildlife conservation on local people. Surprisingly, such analysis is insufficient and seemingly uncommon practices in Ethiopia. This short review examines scarcely available literatures on these matters and suggests the ways to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts of the sector. It is hard to understand the policies and positions of conservation sectors of Ethiopia on social impacts of conservation. Positive social impacts of conservation range from employment opportunities, improved infrastructural development to monetary gains. Negative social impacts include human displacement, lack of resource access, conflicts arising from enforcement activities, and human-wildlife conflicts. Several studies from different parts of Ethiopia have indicated the alienation of the local community and their subsequent antagonistic responses towards conservation efforts. Integrating conservation programs and local community minimizes the costs and increases the benefits of the local people. These in turn raise the social acceptance and success of the program. Wildlife conservation in Ethiopia still requires a detailed studies and practical improvements to equally address the social and biological needs of the sector.

Keywords: Costs of wildlife conservation, Ethiopia, Human displacement, Human-wildlife conflicts, Local community, Wildlife conservation

DOI: 10.7176/JRDM/61-03

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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