Research: Dynamics of Conflict between Humans and Lions in the western Okavango Delta, Botswana
This project will occur in the Habu Village Area, a cattle-dominated landscape adjacent to wildlife management areas in the western Okavango Delta, Botswana. We will examine the socio-economic factors underlying this conflict and three drivers of livestock depredation-movement patterns, abundance, and distribution of lions and other large carnivores living within a cattle-dominated landscape. This will be achieved through seasonal track surveys of carnivores within the cattle-dominated area, GPS collars fitted on lions, non-invasive genetic sampling, and a questionnaire survey of farmers to understand the extent of livestock depredation, attitudes and actions towards large carnivores, and livestock husbandry practices on a local scale. The findings will provide an ecological understanding of drivers of livestock depredation, and in conjunction with meetings with local chiefs and community members, will aid the development of effective methods to improve farmers’ livelihoods while conserving lions and other carnivores in an area of high conservation importance.