Human-Wildlife Conflict ResearchChobe Enclave, Botswana
An exciting option for student participation in Botswana! Our first project site is in the Chobe Enclave. This dynamic concession lies on the border with the Chobe National Park and Chobe Forest Reserve. We will be assisting the Okavango Research Institute in a wildlife concession with research on Human-Wildlife Conflict, which is a serious management and conservation issue in Botswana. The overall objective is to establish a greater understanding of the patterns and underlying processes of human-wildlife interactions with this dynamic ecosystem and with this understanding, present effective management actions.
4 weeks +
$2,450.00 First 4 weeks
$1,100.00 Every following 2 weeks.
Human-wildlife conflict is an ongoing and serious management and conservation issue in Botswana with research and mitigation strategies having been highlights as essential activities by the Government of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP).
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. 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.
The work that we are responsible for under the HWC study 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.
What Will I Do?
In Africa, one can only attempt to schedule each day’s events and goals – however normally Africa time and events take over. However, we feel that it is important to give you an idea of what your day-to-day schedule looks like.
Please note that we will be responding to human wildlife conflict reports (livestock attacks, crop field raiding and direct human/wildlife conflict) as soon as they are reported so will not be able to stick to the below schedule 100% of the time.
Day to day activities will include some of the following aspects:
Predator Spoor/Herbivore/Vegetation Transects:
- These transects include a number of data collection aspects such as predator spoor identification, herbivore sightings, vegetation analysis at sightings as well as marking of frequented elephant paths.
- Additionally, this also include the use of camera traps to ground truth our spoor transects.
Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC):
- This includes conducting HWC interviews, determining the spatial attributes of cattle posts and crop-fields.
- Response to HWC reports will include collecting data about the report and assessing the reporters ability to identify the animal responsible.
- Meeting with important members of the community, as well as with DWNP officials to conduct interviews.
- To assess the implementation, training and sustainability of various HWC mitigation strategies applied in the region (i.e. livestock guard dogs, chilli pepper crop fields, anti-predator kraals etc.).
The Daily Grind:
To give you an indication of your day to day life as a Wildlife ACT student here are a few examples of what your days might look like:
▪ Mornings normally begin before the sun rises as these early starts are a key element in all wildlife research and monitoring. Morning activities include spoor, herbivore or vegetation transects, or checking on previously set camera traps.
▪ Following lunch the team heads off to a village, cattlepost or cropfield to conduct interviews and surveys amongst the herders, cattle owners, farmers or key community members.
▪ Afternoons normally include afternoon/evening transects to compliment the mornings work.
▪ Most days will consist of a combination of community and fieldwork, however we may have a few whole days in between mixed days dedicated to community data collection.
▪ At least one day a week will be dedicated to data input in camp so to avoid a pileup of data to process and a chance to assess the next week’s work. This will be especially true during the summer months, as it is often too hot to be in the field during midday through to the afternoon.
Human-wildlife conflict is a dynamic and complex subject so please be aware of the continuous adjustments that need to be made to accommodate the subject matters.
Free time in camp can be spent relaxing in your tent, reading, birding, chatting to friends and family back at home or chatting with your fellow students and researchers based at the camp.
During weekends off there are a number of activities near by that students can enjoy. This includes a day trip through the well-known Chobe National Park – Riverfront. Wildlife ACT normally facilitates this ourselves, and provide a packed lunch for the day. You will be responsible to cover your own park entrance fee (*please see Dates and Costs).
Additionally, Kasane the town closest to the Chobe Enclave is a popular tourist destination lying on the expansive Chobe River. Boat trips into the Chobe National Park are a fantastic way to spend the day, or even just a sunset cruise up the river in the afternoon. Beautiful lodges run alongside the river are a great place for good food and swimming pools. Please note any weekends in Kasane you will be required to cover your own accommodation and food costs, in addition to any activities you choose to do.
Chobe Enclave is situated approximately three hours drive time from the natural wonder of Victoria Falls! Students can enjoy a weekend away the small town built around the falls, just inside Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls town offers activities of all sorts, from bungee jumping to white water rafting – all gifts for those adrenaline junkies out there. For those more faint of heart, there is visiting the falls, a cruise on the mighty Zambezi River and the famous high tea at Victoria Falls Hotel.
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.
The region where we will be focusing our first project, is in the Chobe Enclave, Botswana. 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. This area is. . .
How Do I Get There?
If you are joining one of our projects in Botswana you will need to arrived on your arranged arrival date either in Maun or Kasane. Daily flights take place from Johannesburg to Maun and there are numerous flights to Kasane throughout the week. Please note that if you are coming from another African destination there are a number of flights directly into Gaborone and do not necessarily require a flight through Johannesburg. Daily flights are scheduled between Gaborone and Maun. Please note that Kasane is very close to the Zimbabwe border and the town of Victoria Falls. Departure will be from either Kasane or Maun.
Additionally, there are bus options that will take you through Gaborone but this might take a few days depending on the connection timing.
It is suggested that before booking your flight to either international airport, that you discuss it with your Wildlife ACT contact who is assisting you to arrange your trip. Arrival destinations may vary according to the time of year or other variable factors. If these factors change after you have booked your flight to either Maun or Kasane, Wildlife ACT will be responsible for any additional travel arrangements and costs.
The project in Chobe Enclave is situated approximately 1.5 hours drive from Kasane and approximately nine hours drive through the Chobe National Park from Maun. You will be collected at your arranged arrival destination and through to the project by Wildlife ACT. Departures will operate in the same manner with Wildlife ACT dropping you off in time for your departure arrangements in either Kasane or Maun.
Dates and Costs
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