Field Update: Lessons in wildlife/human coexistence from Botswana
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
During one of our first productions in Botswana, the RandomGood team spent lots of time with the film’s protagonist Oats (Oaitse) Nawa. Oats runs his own NGO called the Elephants Protection Society aimed at mitigating the conflict between elephants and humans. The organization survives solely on the tireless efforts made by Oats. The film crew spent day and night with him for 10 days, giving the team a real sense of the intensity of Oats´ commitment to his cause.
In recent years, villages bordering wildlife dense areas in Botswana have experienced an increased number of human deaths due to elephants and an increased number of elephants shot by e.g. farmers to protect their crops. Oats´ organization works to educate his community on elephant behavior and aims to equip people with the necessary tools for co-existence with these critically important and endangered creatures. Elephants are considered a keystone species, which means that many other species would suffer severely if elephants were to disappear from the wild.
Oats is a father, safari guide, and conservationist. He understands firsthand the devastating effect that wildlife has on crop yield - especially in areas already subject to environmental pressure - as well as the value elephants bring to the ecosystem and the economical benefit to the country through channels such as tourism. This makes him a key player in navigating the complex issue of elephant-human conflict.
Oats believes that the problem is the manner in which the human-elephant encounter is exercised. Elephants are generally peaceful and only react badly when provoked, surprised or have had negative experiences with violent people in the past. With proper education people will have the ability to negotiate the inevitable interaction peacefully and safely.
Oats´ mission is to see his children live in a world, like that of his forefathers, where elephants and humans coexist.
Stay tuned for our little film. We look forward to sharing it soon and really hope that it will assist Oats in his inspiring and critical work.