Community-Based ecotourism and bushmeat consumption dynamics: Implications for conservation and community development

This paper uses qualitative research methods guided by the social exchange theory and the Community-Based Natural Resource Management concept to explore the contribution of community-based ecotourism to bushmeat consumption/production using the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust, located adjacent to the Chobe National Park, Botswana. Data were collected between May and August 2018. Using semi-structured in-depth interviews, results indicate that, bushmeat consumption became prevalent through trophy hunting tourism. With the hunting ban in 2014, game hunting licenses was stopped, cutting institutionalized bushmeat supply and widening trade-offs between community livelihoods improvement and conservation. Socially, hunting tourism has contributed to affinity for bushmeat taste. Bushmeat contributes to food security for a significant number of community members. Institutionally, bushmeat’s contribution to community livelihoods is perceived varyingly by different stakeholders - some see it as a threat to wildlife resources, a key driver to poaching and extinction of species resulting in unmanageable stakeholders’ interests while others see it as a means to improve their livelihoods and dietary needs. Overall, the nutritional role and financial contribution of bushmeat are prevalent in rural people’s livelihoods. The paper contributes through the development of a model that aims to improve bushmeat production and community participation in natural resources conservation