Analysis of records from community game guards of human-elephant conflict in Orupupa Conservancy, northwest Namibia



human-wildlife conflict, community conservancies, Kunene, local ecological knowledge, Namibia, game guards


Competition between local people and elephants (Loxodonta africana) for water and vegetation is an increasing concern in many conservancies in northwest Namibia. Many livestock were lost during droughts in 2018-2019, and there are risks of more severe droughts in the future because of climate change. Little research has been published on elephants in the Northern Highlands, although the community game guards have been collecting data for many years in Event Books, as part of their role within conservancies. These include records of human-elephant conflict incidents. The objective of this study was to assess in detail the data on human-elephant conflict in Event Books for Orupupa Conservancy. In addition to analysis of Event Book data, consultations were carried out with community game guards in 2021 and 2022. Incidents involving elephants tend not to be frequent, but damage at water points can have a major impact on a local community because of the time taken and expenses of repairing the infrastructure. In 2019 and 2020 there was a changing dynamic in which some local communities set up vegetable gardens near water points or springs. The number of incidents of elephant damage at vegetable gardens greatly increased in 2020. Our study demonstrates that detailed analysis of Event Book data for additional conservancies would be useful. Combined with local ecological knowledge, the Event Book data can be used to inform the planning of local actions to reduce human-elephant conflict, including conservation of elephants and their habitats, in line with the actions in Namibia’s National Elephant Conservation and Management Plan. The study also confirmed the substantial knowledge of community game guards and their important work in keeping records in Event Books. The expansion of their monitoring role to identify specific elephant herds would provide benefits in terms of improving knowledge on the elephant population and movements, and the potential for early warning between villages about the more problematic herds.

Author Biographies

MJ Wenborn, Oxford Brookes University

Michael Wenborn has worked and travelled in Namibia for 10 years. He is pursuing a PhD focussing on the Highland elephant populations in northwest Namibia, working closely with the community conservancies and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.

V Nijman, Oxford Brookes University

Dr Vincent Nijman holds a professorial chair in Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University and has worked as an independent biodiversity consultant for numerous national and international NGOs. Part of his research programme focuses on stakeholder and community engagement in conservation, addressing human-wildlife conflict, and regulating wildlife trade.

D Kangombe, Orupupa Conservancy

Dave Kangombe has been Chairperson for Orupupa Conservancy since 2021 and works for IRDNC in support of remote community conservancies in northwest Namibia.

R Katira Zaako, Orupupa Conservancy

Richard Katira Zaako was Project Manager for Orupupa Conservancy until 2021 and is currently working for the Conservancy as a Lion Ranger.

U Tjimuine, Orupupa Conservancy

Uaakojaa Tjimuine is Field Office (head game guard) for Orupupa Conservancy, based in Okozonguehe in northern Orupupa.

A Kavita, Orupupa Conservancy

Abia Kavita is Senior Game Guard for Orupupa Conservancy, based in Ekoto in central Orupupa.

J Hinu, Orupupa Conservancy

Josua Hinu is a Game Guard for Orupupa Conservancy, based in Okazonrongua in southern Orupupa.

R Huwe, Orupupa Conservancy

Roto Huwe has been a Game Guard for over 30 years, based in Okomuhona in southern for Orupupa Conservancy.

VJ Ngarukue, Orupupa Conservancy

Vanjanda John Ngarukue is a Game Guard for Orupupa Conservancy, based in Omuhama in the northeast of the Conservancy.

KJ Kapringi, Orupupa Conservancy

Kapurua Jackson Kapringi is a Game Guard for Orupupa Conservancy, based in Otjondeka in the north of the Conservancy.

MS Svensson , Oxford Brookes University

Dr Magdalena S Svensson is Lecturer in Primatology and Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has extensive experience working on community-based conservation research projects in Africa, including in Angola, as well as research projects on the ivory trade.



How to Cite

Wenborn, M., Nijman, V., Kangombe, D., Katira Zaako, R., Tjimuine, U., Kavita, A., Hinu, J., Huwe, R., Ngarukue, V., Kapringi, K., & Svensson , M. (2022). Analysis of records from community game guards of human-elephant conflict in Orupupa Conservancy, northwest Namibia. Namibian Journal of Environment, 6, Section A, 92–100. Retrieved from



Section A: Research articles