Human-Wildlife Conflict Summer Course, Zimbabwe

Travel to the heart of Zimbabwe’s wilderness and discover the issues at the root of conflict between communities and wildlife, and the broad consequences thereof. From your base just outside the mighty Victoria Falls, this course will put you on the front line of human-wildlife conflict in Africa. Be engaged in lectures by experts in African conservation, and consolidate your knowledge through practical work in the field for a full understanding of this complex and multifaceted problem. Your academic lead, Dr Jackie Abell, will guide your development through a well-structured program.

During your free time, you’ll be able to explore your stunning and fascinating surrounds. Visit Victoria Falls, enjoy game drives, experience the mighty Zambezi River and immerse yourself in the warm culture of the local community.

This course would be beneficial to those pursuing studies in natural sciences such as conservation, biology, ecology and wildlife conservation management, but also other fields such as sociology, anthropology and various cultural studies. The course includes 45 contact hours for a recommended 3 US course credits, and is best-suited to undergraduates.

Highlights

  • Gain valuable knowledge on human-wildlife conflict in Africa
  • Learn from Dr Jackie Abell and her team of experts in the field
  • Take advantage of the wide variety of wildlife and leisure activities nearby
  • Immerse yourself in the hospitable local communities

Quick Facts

  • Location Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Academic Focus Natural Sciences, Biology, Conservation, Ecology, Anthropology, Sociology & Cultural Studies
  • Recommended Credits 3 US Credits
  • Academic Prerequisite Undergraduate, recommended for year 3

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Destination Description

Travel to the heart of Zimbabwe’s wilderness and discover the issues at the root of conflict between communities and wildlife, and the broad consequences thereof.

You’ll be based in the popular tourist town of Victoria Falls in the north of Zimbabwe. Flanked by the mighty Victoria Falls and sprawling national parks and wilderness areas, you might see wildlife roaming around its streets, like warthog – and sometimes even elephants.

From your base, this course will put you on the front line of human-wildlife conflict in Africa. Be engaged in lectures by experts in African conservation, and consolidate your knowledge through practical work in the field for a full understanding of this complex and multifaceted problem. Your academic lead, Dr. Jackie Abell, will guide your development through a well-structured program.

During your free time, you’ll be able to explore your stunning and fascinating surrounds. Visit Victoria Falls, enjoy game drives, experience the mighty Zambezi River and immerse yourself in the warm culture of the local community.

Weekends will give you the opportunity to encounter wildlife on game drives in a nearby National Park, to venture onto the Zambezi for a boat cruise, or to get soaked by the spray of the falls. For the adventurous type, there’s plenty to explore too. Known as the Adventure Capital of Africa, Victoria Falls offers dare-devil activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, or gorge swinging. A setting of great natural beauty and an abundance of exciting things to explore.

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Learning Outcomes

The course is led by Dr. Jackie Abell, Director of Research for the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) since 2013, and accomplished researcher in Social Psychology & Conservation with Coventry University UK. Dr. Abell has over twenty years of experience in academia as a professor and thesis advisor and publishes widely on human and animal behavior, wildlife conservation, and sustainable community development.

This course would be beneficial to those pursuing studies in natural sciences such as conservation, biology, ecology and wildlife conservation management, but also other fields such as sociology, anthropology and various cultural studies.

Through a series of workshops, interactive lectures, and site visits led by experts in the field, you will gain an understanding of the myriad challenges in an African context, their implications and potential solutions in regards to both wildlife populations and communities.

Over the course of four weeks, students can expect the following learning outcomes:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the types and causes of human-wildlife conflict in Africa in general and in Victoria Falls specifically
  • Learn to identify the extent of human-wildlife conflict in a given area, and applicable solutions and workable methods to address relevant issues
  • Discover best practice in the implementation of human-wildlife conflict interventions
  • Learn relevant monitoring and evaluation methods

Specific hands-on experience includes:

  • Assisting with the collection and analysis of data for ongoing research programs, with a focus on large game and predators
  • Designing, implementing and analyzing the outcomes of basic community surveys to assess attitudes and behaviors towards wildlife and conservation
  • Designing and implementing workable methods for reducing human-wildlife conflict instances for the benefit of people and wildlife populations
  • Participate in and deliver conservation education lessons to affected communities
  • Contribute to ongoing monitoring surveys to assess and address poaching and deforestation

Academic Credit

Students may be eligible to receive academic credit through their home university or college. Understanding that each university or college has its own requirements to facilitate academic credit, we ask students to first coordinate with a professor or faculty advisor to determine the correct process to fulfill requirements.

 

Service Impact

One of the main threats to African wildlife, especially predators, is conflict with people. As human populations increase across the continent, people and wildlife are brought into increasing contact, often leading to conflict for space and resources. Identifying the extent of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) and implementing feasible and appropriate solutions in an African context is one of the most important challenges in conservation.

This four-week course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the main types and causes of HWC in Africa, research methods for assessing the extent of HWC in an area, consideration of workable mitigation methods and techniques to assess and monitor their effectiveness. This will be achieved using a combination of theory and real-life examples, with students having the opportunity to engage with people affected by HWC and to apply their knowledge in the field to contribute to effective and measurable solutions.

Elephant herd drink at a waterhole in Etosha
Elephant herd drink at a waterhole in Etosha
  • WEEK 1

    Your first week will comprise an in-depth orientation where you will meet the various stakeholders, familiarize yourself with the course schedule and set expectations. Through introductory lessons, students will gain a theoretical and historical understanding of the issues to be further studied as well as be introduced to practical examples of human wildlife conflict through community visits and touring incidents with various wildlife.

    The first week will end with our first group reflection with the objective that you will have a sound understanding of the subject matter and concepts to be explored.

  • WEEK 2

    Your second week will be characterized by deeper study into the areas outlined in your first week. This will be facilitated by methods workshops, structured field work and further reflections.

    This week will prepare you for the practical implementations to be completed in week 3.

  • WEEK 3

    In your third week, you will design and deliver a conservation education class and simultaneously undertake an attitudinal survey using the skills developed in your methods workshops.

    A guided reflection at the end of the week will help you analyze your methods and qualify your data for a deeper understanding of how the concepts and processes integrate.

  • WEEK 4

    Your course culminates in the presentation of your observations and discussion of your findings.

    During the course of this week, you will consult with Dr. Abell, complete peer-reviews and prepare your final conclusions of the course.

Dates:
1 - 29 July 2017

$5495 for the 4 weeks

Applications close 10 May

This fee includes:

  • A accommodation
  • Three meals per day
  • Transfers from Victoria Falls or Livingstone airport
  • Support services from African Impact with daily guidance.
  • All lectures
  • All National Park fees
  • Academic support and guidance by Dr Jackie Abell
  • Any administrative support to help you get credit with your home university

Not included in this fee:

  • International flights to Victoria Falls
  • Items of personal nature
  • Travel insurance

 

You will be based in the Town of Victoria Falls, which boarder Zambezi National Park. You will stay in an African Impact exclusively run house. You will be collected form the airport on arrival and a weekly schedule of your course will be given. You will be required to do a paper at the end of your course to demonstrate your learnings or highlight the results of your findings.

 

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