Human-Wildlife Conflict Summer Course

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 based within the Zambezi National Park.

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.

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.


  • 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

Enquire Now

Destination Description

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.

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.


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.

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


Service Impact

You will work alongside a team of researchers tracking and monitoring large predators such as hyena, lion and leopard in the Zambezi National Park. Conduct surveys and research during night drives in the heart of Africa – unfenced and untamed – to discover your own night vision.

Be a part in the mitigation of human-wildlife conflict through the use of new, innovative technologies for deterring wild lions from livestock.

Through this you will be 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.



The academic lead for this course is Dr Jackie Abell (MA Hons. MSc. MSc. PhD. C.Psychol), of Coventry University. She serves as the Director of Research for the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT).

Dr Abell holds a degree in psychology from the University of Dundee, an MSc in social psychology from Lancaster University, a PhD in Psychology from Loughborough University, and a further MSc in Animal Behavior (specializing in lions) from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dr Abell has worked in academia for 20 years as a lecturer, researcher and dissertation supervisor (undergraduate and postgraduate), and publishes widely on human and animal behavior, wildlife conservation, and community in academic journals and for the non-academic press. She serves on the editorial board for the British Journal of Social Psychology, and is a peer-reviewer for several academic journals and academic research funding councils, spanning the human, biological and animal sciences. She was elected onto the IUCN Specialist Cat Breeding Group in 2014, and the African Lion Working Group in 2016. She is a Chartered Psychologist and graduate member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the American Psychological Association (APA).

She has created recognized undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in Conservation Psychology (which focuses on the relationships between people and wildlife to ensure effective conservation practice), as well as Animal Behavior (including comparative psychology) and supervised several PhD theses to successful completion.
Much of her work focuses on integrating the natural, human and social sciences to tackle complex conservation issues effectively, recognizing the ‘human’ as well as the wildlife elements of current problems. Much of her current work concerns training local and international students in relevant skills, theory, and knowledge, to optimize competency in the field and scientific rigor.

  • 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 using the skills you have developed in your method 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.

July 18th - August 14th 2018

$5995 for the 4 weeks

$500 early bird discount – book before 30th September 2017

This fee includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Three meals per day
  • Transfers from Victoria Falls or Livingstone airport
  • Support services from African Impact with daily guidance.
  • All lectures and talks
  • 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 a personal nature
  • Travel insurance


Check out what’s included:

We know for you to get the best out of your time, we need to take care of you. This is what you can expect from us ……

  • You will be collected from the airport and taken to your new home (look out for the sign with your name on)
  • Our accommodation will be home away from home in areas we have personally selected to ensure your safety and in a lively central location in Victoria Falls
  • On arrival you will have a full induction to your new home, location and how the next 4 weeks will evolve
  • All your meals will be provided for the duration of the course, by our cooks onsite, catering for all dietary needs (with a few exceptions of free days and weekends)
  • It’s a given that any transport needs whilst on our program will be provided from our qualified drivers
  • Our cleaning team will ensure shared living is easy and your washing is ready for the next day
  • 24 hour emergency support is always provided
  • No one is ever in a hurry to leave but we will ensure that we supply a ride back to the airport for you