LINDSEY N. RICH
Organization: Virginia Tech
Research: Monitoring and Conserving Carnivore Communities across Northern Botswana
Species/Topic: Carnivore communities (e.g., lion, cheetah, and leopard)
Northern Botswana has abundant wildlife and one of the highest diversities of carnivores in Africa. These animals may be under threat, however, as Botswana recently reported declining wildlife populations. To address these reports, information on the densities, distributions, and ecology of Botswana's wildlife populations is needed. Our research addresses this knowledge gap by identifying and implementing a sustainable method for monitoring carnivore communities across northern Botswana. To identify a monitoring program, we are employing camera trap and track surveys. We are using these field methodologies, in combination with advanced statistical modeling, to estimate the densities of thirteen species of carnivores and to evaluate their distributions. To implement the program, we are training local wildlife guides and offering field workshops to communities and government agencies. Lastly, to help instill a conservation ethic in the youth of Botswana, we developed Wild Joys, an outreach program for children from rural communities.