The trophy hunting ban for all national parks issues by the Botswana government in 2014 has been widely applauded by wildlife fans. With a third of all concessions in the greater Okavango Delta previously being dedicated to hunting, the ban on hunting will have a significant impact on the area, both environmentally and economically.
African Conservation Experience have teamed up with Wildside Africa, Botswana (founders of Bundox Wildlife Services) to create a conservation travel experience that combines income generation through ecotourism with crucial wildlife research.
Wildside Africa, Botswana has secured a longterm lease for a former 360,000 hectare hunting concession to the East of the Moremi Game Reserve. Together with African Conservation Experience they are establishing a field research station to gather much needed data on changes to wildlife populations as a result of the hunting ban.
“We can assist the communities in creating jobs here but creating sustainable ecotourism in the long term will take a lot of research: ‘What is happening with the current animals? What are their movements? Because there isn’t hunting anymore, it will change movements and patterns and maybe even population dynamics of some of the animals, this will be important to research and document. That is what our aim is on a conservation level, and we do that work on behalf of the government.”
Marinus Smith, Director Wildside Africa
International conservation travellers can join the research project through African Conservation Experience and participate in the research. Travellers will experience two different sites: Most of the research work is carried out from a basic camp in the drier pans in the East of the greater delta area, while the experience will also include a stay at an island camp inside Moremi Game Reserve, accessible only by boat.
Conservation travellers will be fully involved in a variety of research tasks including:
- Establishing populatoin counts and herd profiles for Africa’s largest elephant population
- Assessing the impact of elephants on vegetation
- Tracking and monitoring predators to establish population estimate and territory maps to mitigate conflict with local communities
- Transect counts, camera traps and waterhole surveys to conduct general wildlife survey
Travellers can join the projects for 2-12 weeks, throughout the year, starting in 2016.
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