Eric LeFloreEric LeFlore

PhD Student, Environmental Conservation


Advisors: Andrew Stein, Todd Fuller

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

The African lion (Panthera leo) is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and has been extirpated from about 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, though it too is now in decline. While the Delta is a hot spot for wildlife in the arid Kalahari environment, it is also home to many people and their livestock. This sets the stage for substantial amounts of conflict between humans and lions. My dissertation research investigates the level of conflict in the eastern panhandle of the Okavango Delta and incorporates local people and their needs into conservation efforts. To accomplish my objectives, I developed a comprehensive study that examines the attitudes of local villagers towards predators, analyses livestock depredation events, tracks and monitors the local lion population, and implements and tests the efficacy of innovative conflict mitigation strategies across four focal villages. Conflict mitigation strategies include the establishment of an early warning system linked to GPS/satellite collared lions as well as a predator-proof livestock enclosure building program utilizing locally sourced materials. This novel project aims to bridge the long-standing gap between wildlife conservation and local peoples’ needs while serving as a model for future human-carnivore conflict mitigation programs.


  • 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
  • CLAWS Conservancy
  • National Geographic Big Cats Initiative