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LeFlore, Eric

Eric LeFlore(Ph.D., ECO)

 

Project:

Pride in Our Prides: Mitigating Human-Lion Conflict in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

Support:

J.W. Fulbright Scholarship

U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service

Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate

Social Science Research Council

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Environmental Conservation

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Graduate School

 

 

Project Abstract:

The African lion (Panthera leo) is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and has been extirpated from 83% of its historic range. Conflicts with humans persist as a significant contributing factor to population declines. The Okavango Delta of northern Botswana is home to one of the last viable populations of lions but it is also home to many people living in rural villages. Based on preliminary data gathered from in-person interviews conducted in wildlife management areas in the Delta, NG 11 and NG 12, most farmers harbor negative opinions of lions and cite them as dangerous to livestock and humans. We will work with farmers to establish more secure livestock management techniques into their farming practices by building predator-proof livestock enclosures and bolstering herding methods. We will collar and track lions to understand their spatial and temporal movements, habitat preferences, and population dynamics, which will help to reduce human-lion conflicts in the future. We will also incorporate members of the community into the project by hiring them to track lions and herd grazing livestock. Lastly, we will establish a self-sustaining livestock insurance program that will fully compensate insured farmers for losses to predators if they maintain required levels of livestock and wildlife protection. Pride in Our Prides aims to bridge the long-standing gap between wildlife conservation and local peoples’ needs while serving as a model for future management programs.

Updated: January 9, 2015