Lindsey Rich, PhD, Virginia Tech University, United States (Supervisor Dr Marcella Kelly). 

Lindsey’s research aims to identify and implement a sustainable method for monitoring carnivore communities across northern Botswana, employing spoor and camera trap surveys. Spoor surveys are generally the preferred method for monitoring wildlife in Africa but their ability to detect changes in the distribution and abundance of carnivore populations is poorly established. Camera trap surveys, alternatively, have become an increasingly common method for monitoring wildlife. 

Our study aims to be the first to utilize camera trap surveys, in combination with recent advances in statistical modeling, to estimate the densities of an entire carnivore community. In a field where time, money, and personnel are generally limited, this multi-species study design could result in considerable savings as well as a more comprehensive and efficient use of available data.  

To implement the monitoring program, we are training local wildlife guides and offering field workshops and presentations to communities, government agencies, and research institutes. Lastly, to help instill a conservation ethic in future generations of Botswana, we have developed Wild Joys. Wild Joys takes children from rural communities into wildlife protected areas to teach them about natural history, animal behavior, and field research techniques.  

Besides being supported by BPCT and its associated sponsors, this project is also funded by: Fulbright U.S. Student Program; International Chapter P.E.O. Sisterhood; The Rufford Foundation; Wilderness Wildlife Trust; Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; The Temenos Foundation; Idea Wild



Lindsey Rich began her PhD research in collaboration with BPCT in 2012. Lindsey’s main interests include landscape-level population monitoring and the ecology of carnivore communities. She conducted her MSc through the University of Montana, USA, where she assessed factors influencing the territory sizes of wolf packs and developed a cost-effective method for monitoring wolves across the state. Following her MSc, Lindsey worked in Portugal and the United states to develop occupancy models for an array of carnivores and in Botswana where she lead a conservation study abroad program. She began her PhD studies at Virginia Tech University, USA, in fall 2012. Lindsey’s PhD research focused on evaluating the density, distribution, and ecology of multiple, sympatric carnivores with a focus on leopards. Specifically, Lindsey uses camera trap and spoor surveys to assess overall carnivore richness, to estimate the density of up to 5 large carnivores and 7 mesocarnivores, and to explore species-level and community-level effects of ecological variables (e.g., human impact and prey density). She recently completed her PhD.

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