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Farmers Fight! Creating Solutions for Human-Wildlife Conflict in Botswana

In this I[X] Team Spotlight, take a look at the team behind the research. Dr. Leslie Ruyle will share why this project is important to the community and how her team of students will contribute to the project. Discover what compelled the students to select this particular Innovation[X] project to work on, and what valuable skill sets and unique perspectives they bring to the project.

Woman providing veterinarian treatment on wild cat

Dr. Ruyle, as the project leader, tell us why this project is so important to the community?

“Our interdisciplinary group of faculty and students work with farmers on how to protect their cattle from lions, leopards, wild dogs, jackals, and cheetah. Botswana has a huge tourism industry and want to protect their wildlife. Our goal is to help support farmers in ways that also promote conservation of these important carnivores.”


What do you think your team of students can bring to this project?

“Our mega-energy students come from so many different backgrounds and experiences! We are excited to put all these brains together with all the expertise of the farmers to come up with novel solutions for protecting both cattle and wildlife.”

As students, what made you chose this particular Innovation[X] project?

“I am interested in participating in wildlife conservation for endangered species. Since this project partners with Cheetah Conservation Botswana, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the issues that face both wildlife and farmers/ranchers in a different country experiencing a different life than me. I want to understand their living situations and join a team to try to create solutions for both people and wildlife to live together.”

– Kristen Eng ’24, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Major


“I chose this project because I hope to have a career in international development, working on food security in sub-Saharan Africa.”

– Sallie Sherman ’21, International Affairs Masters Student


“The opportunity to collaborate with a group that represented a wide skillset in addition to the possibility of travel.”

– Daoud Qamar ’21, Economics Major


What part of the project will you be working on?

“I am working with a subset of team members to translate traditional ranching practices in Botswana into our broader mission of decreasing conflict between farmers/ranchers and predators.”

– Sallie Sherman ’21, International Affairs Masters Student


“I’m a big idea person – I would love to be a part of prototyping new approaches to our problem.  I’d also like to apply my background in statistics/data collection in addition to my skillset as a filmmaker – I would LOVE to document our studies and travels.”

– Daoud Qamar ’21, Economics Major


“Our project is just starting, but since I am majoring in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and coming from a background volunteering at a zoo, I can help contribute understanding about what the wild animals need in their environment or why they behave certain ways. I am strong in empathy and I believe I can try to understand the experiences of the people who experience wildlife conflict issues firsthand.”

– Kristen Eng ’24, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Major


“Engineering – I will be in charge of building a prototype to collect data within the test field.”

– Reuben Ninan ’22, Electrical Engineering Major

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