Human Wildlife Conflict Research Project
We have an exciting opportunity for student participation in Botswana! Wildlife ACT has partnered with the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) of the University of Botswana. The region where we will be focusing our first project is in the Chobe Enclave. This dynamic concession lies within the Chobe National Park and Chobe Forest Reserve, with the Linyanti and Chobe River creating its northern boundary with Namibia.
We will be assisting the ORI in a wildlife concession with research on Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC), which is a serious management and conservation issue in the Chobe region of Botswana. HWC research and mitigation strategies have been highlighted as important activities by the Government of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)’s. The research that we will be undertaking feeds directly into the management objectives of the DWNP and we will be working in hand with them on the ground.
The Chobe Enclave
This area is zoned as an agricultural, pastoral and wildlife management area bringing with it Human Wildlife Conflict at its most complex. This important wildlife corridor has a number of small communities residing in it and elephant, lion, leopard, hyena and other wildlife species utilising the area heavily impact them.
Wildlife ACT assists in an on-going human-wildlife conflict study run by the University of Botswana and the Okavango Research Institute. This includes predictive mapping in assistance with mitigation strategies, as well as on the ground “intervention” methods. While the area boasts rich biodiversity and wildlife, they are commonly nervous, as they come under much persecution from poachers and revengeful farmers.
Please note: we do not work with collared animals in this area. We encourage research students who would like to contribute to the essential and valuable work here, if this is a field that interests you.
The Human Wildlife Conflict Study
The overall objective of the research is to establish a greater understanding of the patterns and underlying processes of human-wildlife interactions in the dynamic ecosystems of Botswana, with the Chobe section of the study feeding into a wider study. The study aims:
- To determine the current status and trends in incidents of HWC and map the spatio-temporal distribution of HWC in Chobe.
- Investigate the socio-ecological patterns and underlying processes of wildlife crop-raiding in Chobe.
- Investigate the socio-economic impact of wildlife crop-raiding in Chobe
- Explore the effectiveness of current mitigation techniques for elephant crop-raiding, and develop and test innovative techniques.
- Investigate the extent of illegal hunting around protected areas and compare situations in Botswana.
Student Conservation Experience
Any registered students are welcome to join us as we perform this valuable Human Wildlife Conflict research in partnership with the University of Botswana. This will involve working in a unique environment with high wildlife densities collecting data in a number of various ways, including distance sampling surveys, wildlife behavioural observations and point sampling. Students will gain valuable experience in all aspects of field research techniques and be able to add this vital experience to their CVs enhancing their employability in the future and provide them with add recognition when applying for entrance to post-graduate courses, which can often provide that much needed competitive advantage.
Experiential Learning Modules
As part of many course requirements students often need to perform a practical experiential learning module in the field. We offer the perfect environment for this, where you will be able to partake in practical scientific fieldwork. This will mean working in a unique environment with high wildlife densities collecting data in a number of various ways, including distance sampling surveys, wildlife behavioural observations and point sampling. Wildlife ACT’s lead researcher in Botswana, Dr. Simon Morgan, will be able to communicate with course conveners at your university to establish learning objectives for your experiential learning modules.
Undergraduate & Postgraduate Research Projects
Wildlife ACT would be able to assist you in developing a specific research project within the bounds of the research focus areas and assist with your application to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks though the University of Botswana. Students and researchers could ask for access to previous information collected before they arrived, so as to enhance their data set and projects. The depth of this can be discussed and formulated by the students with the Okavango Research Institute and with Wildlife ACT’s lead researcher in Botswana, Dr. Simon Morgan, to ensure meaningful wildlife conservation projects are developed.