UNDERSTANDING HUMAN-LARGE CARNIVORE CONFLICT IN CHOBE, BOTSWANA
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Large carnivores most often get in conflicts with people because they compete for resources that humans require-space and food. Throughout Africa, large carnivores have been eliminated or significantly reduced because of livestock predation. This study is part of the Large Carnivore Research Project initiated by African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in the Chobe-Caprivi area of Botswana and Namibia respectively. Using GPS collars (a male and a female lion) and spoor counts, data are being gathered on population size, distribution, movement patterns and habitat use of large carnivores. Human impacts are also being examined through mapping of settlements and community interviews. Preliminary results confirm that areas of high carnivore activity correlate positively with protected areas and water availability, and negatively with human presence. Analysis of GPS data (Nov 2004-Oct 2005) from the collared lions has indicated a clear preference for grassland however, male prefers woodland and shrubby savannah more than the female. Additionally, enormous difference in space usage was observed between male and female lion, which is likely to bring males closer to humans and exacerbate conflicts. Male lion was closest to the human settlements in the dry season (April-September) during dawn and dusk. Results from this project will be incorporated into the current Chobe Land Use and Management Plan in order to effectively manage land and mitigate existing conflict between people and carnivores and ensure the survival of large carnivores in the region.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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