- Gaborone, Botswana
- Program Type:
- Study Abroad
- Degree Level:
- Academic Year, Fall Semester
- Program Description:
Join us in Botswana as we discover the diverse ecosystems and incredible wildlife of this biodiversity hotspot. We begin our course in the semi-arid Kalahari Desert to study the ecology and geography of the Kalahari Basin and explore the cultures, traditions, and languages of the peoples of Botswana. Our team will be introduced to the local wildlife (giraffe, elephant, rhino, lion, cheetah, impala - just to name a few) and begin our discussion on the many local threats that impact wildlife populations as we compare a diverse array of ecosystems and examine how each contributes to wildlife migration patterns. It is here that we begin to understand the many entities involved in wildlife conservation and the environmental, political, and socio-economic pressures influencing the region’s conservation efforts. Local communities, government agencies, non-profit, and international organizations each play a unique role in protecting the wildlife that depend on this region’s resources.
As we enter the Okavango Delta region, the importance of this oasis in the desert becomes immediately apparent. Angolan rainfall makes its way into Botswana, taking up to six months for the floodwaters to reach the Okavango Delta. The floods provide much-needed relief from the dry season, resulting in some of the highest concentrations of African wildlife, including the world’s largest concentration of African elephants. Here we will examine the rich biodiversity of the Delta, and learn the importance of the Delta’s resources for sustaining local livelihoods of the region’s five ethnic groups. We will also come to understand the economic value of the Okavango Delta to wildlife conservation, community-based conservation efforts and ecotourism opportunities.
Throughout the course, we will expand our skills in conducting scientific research and apply our new-found skills to real situations. By immersing ourselves in our surroundings and engaging with conservation practitioners and researchers from local to international scales, we will take an active role in wildlife research and gain a greater understanding of the multiple perspectives of wildlife conservation in Botswana.
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