In 2004, the government of Ethiopia moved 500 people out of the Nech Sar National Park in the south of the country, before handing it over to be managed by the Dutch NGO, African Parks. The following year, African Parks signed another contract to manage the Omo National Park. The issue of evictions in these parks quickly became the subject of intense lobbying by international human rights NGOs.

Action to conserve biodiversity, particularly through the creation of protected areas (PAs), is inherently political. Political ecology is a field of study that embraces the interactions between the way nature is understood and the politics and impacts of environmental action. This paper explores the political ecology of conservation, particularly the establishment of PAs.