Drivers of human-carnivore conflict in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

In collaboration with Christiaan Winterbach, the Habu Village Chief, and the Habu Village Development Council, project leader Carolyn Whitesell is examining human-carnivore conflict in Habu Village, located in the western Okavango Delta, Botswana. Habu Village is a cattle-dominated landscape where farmers suffer high levels of livestock depredation. It is separated from a protected area by a non-predator proof fence. This region is an important conservation area for lions and other large carnivores, and thus it is of critical importance to understand the factors driving human-carnivore conflict in the area, so that mitigation measures are tailored to the local situation. This project will utilize a variety of methods to study ecological and socio-economic factors behind livestock depredation. These methods include a questionnaire survey of local farmers to understand attitudes and actions towards carnivores and the extent of livestock depredation, track counts, visit to lion kill sites, and GPS collars to study lion movements in the area.

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Carolyn Whitesell (Ph D student, NSF GRFP Fellow)