Kunene Conservation Research is an online repository of materials engaging historical and contemporary issues in rural development and wildlife conservation in the Kunene Region of northwest Namibia. Currently we are particularly focused on challenges of human-lion conflict in the Anabeb, Sesfontein, and Puros communal conservancies.

The site performs two functions. One, it is a public forum tracking John’s dissertation research. His project examines the interactions of humans and lions in Kunene through an historical social-ecological lens. Specifically, he examines how human-wildlife conflict, local livelihoods, and wildlife conservation practice feedback upon one another within Kunene’s communal conservancies.

Second, this site is a resource for those who work and study the interactions between rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation. As such this site is a repository for documents, photos, media, research etc. relevant to rural livelihood and wildlife conservation concerns, with a particular emphasis on the Kunene Region. The goal is to provide an online resource for scholars, theorists, and practitioners of development and conservation.


The team:

John M. Heydinger

PhD Candidate, University of Minnesota and Macquarie University

Trained as a historian and conservation biologist and with a background in outdoor leadership, I have worked in Namibia, Alaska, and South Africa. My research at both the masters and doctoral level focuses on integrating social and ecological factors for environmental conservation. My dissertation project, Conservation in the Kunene: Human-lion conflict and community-based natural resource management, is an environmental and oral history examining human-carnivore interactions in the communal conservancies of northwest Namibia.

Heydinger CV



Jendery Tsaneb

Translator, Lead Field Assistant

Jendery Tsaneb is working as the primary translator and field assistant for our research in Kunene. Himself a member of Torra Conservancy, Jendery has worked on numerous field expeditions, as well as the Children in the Wilderness Program. Based out of Werledsend, Jendery has experience across Kunene and has developed relationships with a broad array of residents and conservationists. Jendery has a deep knowledge of both livestock husbandry practices and the region’s fauna and flora. He works hard to maintain the project’s working relationships with local communities – he is our full-time eyes and ears on-the-ground. Fluent in Damara, Otjiherero, Afrikaans, and English, Jendery’s language-skills and local knowledge are indispensable to our work examining human-carnivore conflict in Kunene.


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