The ecology and management of Kalahari lions in a conflict area in Central Botswana

African Lions (Panthera leo) are an integral aspect of natural ecosystems in Africa and provide income and ecosystem services to many human communities. I placed GPS position locating radio collars on 13 lions in 6 prides in the north of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), in central Botswana. I investigate the changes in prey density, and lion response through spatial dynamics, movement patterns. I also investigate the economics and extent of the lion livestock conflict in Central Botswana and explore potential management options in light of this new data. Management options should be carefully selected for efficacy, and should target locations where conflict mitigation can have the greatest benefit for both lion conservation and economic improvement of stakeholders in order to have the best chance for success in achieving common and conflicting goals. After carefully examining the ecology of the Central Kalahari lions and the management of the reserve and farms in the area, I conclude that the best way to mitigate lion conflict is through a change in grazing practices and not in reserve management.

About the speaker

Kevin has worked in the field of human-wildlife conflict since 2002, gaining an honours from the UNSW studying eastern grey kangaroos on the western slopes of New South Wales and going on to study flying fox conflict with stone fruit growers in the greater Gosford area. Since 2005, Kevin has been in Botswana working in various parts of the Kalahari semi-arid savannah system. The Makgadikgadi pans are some of the largest salt pans in the world, and only about one-third are protected. Here Kevin worked with Kalahari San peoples (Jun Xwasi or Kalahari bushmen), meerkats and brown hyaena research which focused on the conflict of that species with local graziers. In 2009 Kevin and colleagues proposed further predator conflict research in the under studied Central Kalahari Game Reserve system (CKGR), and he began his PhD on the lions of the CKGR.