Destination: Botswana

Expedition: African Wild Dogs are one of the world’s most endangered mammals , and lions are listed as vulnerable in Africa. Leigh West, a PhD candidate at University of Washington, is working with researchers in Botswana tied to the NGO, Botswana Predator Conservation. They will assess the effect of the lion and wild dog conflict with humans, as the warming climate effects the Okavango landscape. Leigh’s project combines a unique historic data set with novel data collected from GPS collared wild dogs and lions to examine how current drought influences carnivore behavior , space use, and resulting interactions with humans. Her team includes renowned African Wild Dog researcher, Tico McNutt, as well as other top experts in predators and human wildlife conflict, and a researcher in global change biology. Leigh intends that project results will inform management strategies for communities suffering livelihood impacts from climate change and its implications around human carnivore conflict. Leigh holds a master’s degree in science communication and has media production training.