Managing Botswana's wildlife

Issued: Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:06:00 GMT

Left to right: Dr Karen MacEachern (Uofg), Mmolotsi Muller Dikolobe (DWNP), Dr Michael Flyman (DWNP), Mmadi Reuben (DWNP), Prof Nick Jonsson (UofG) – at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, near Gaborone in Botswana, March 2016The online MSc programme on Wildlife and Livestock Management was inaugurated in 2015, with six students in the first intake. The programme aims to integrate ecological disciplines with studies of disease in wildlife, livestock and human population, with basic concepts of land management, livestock production and wildlife management and to provide training in the use of analytical tools for wildlife and livestock management.

Although the course is designed for online delivery, it includes several elective courses that are delivered in the field: Field Exercises 1 and 2, and Wildlife Chemical Immobilisation Restraint and Capture. These courses are delivered in Botswana and the UK, and include theory and practice.

Tackling 'problem' wildlife

Among the first intake is Mmolotsi Muller Dikolobe, a vet working with the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Muller spends most of his working life dealing with problem wildlife: lions, leopards, crocodiles and other large carnivores that prey on livestock or threaten human safety, elephants that destroy crops and water-storage infrastructure, buffaloes that stray into the wrong zone, and other less common problems.

For Muller, this course is helping him with aspects of his job that the standard veterinary undergraduate programme does not address at all or in any depth: habitat evaluation, land management, ecological principles, conservation genetics among others.

Muller’s studies are funded by a full scholarship from the University of Glasgow.

Students working on plant identification and habitat assessment as part of the BIOL5272 Wildlife and Livestock Management Field Exercises course at Mokolodi Nature Reserve in June 2016. Mmolotis Muller Dikolobe on right.

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