Over the years many students have contributed valuably to Leopard Ecology & Conservation (LEC) by working on short-term projects that support and complement our longer-term research and conservation objectives.
If you are interested in studying with us, please read the following guidelines.
What we can offer
LEC is not an academic institution in itself and so we cannot fully supervise independent students. However, we can act as a collaborator on undergraduate and postgraduate projects, with students who are already registered at an institution and have identified a primary supervisor. In some circumstances, we can also provide academic co-supervision for undergraduate and graduate theses.
Collaboration with a student could take the form of data provision, where relevant data already exists, or support in collecting field data through our field camp in Khutse. Where additional data collection is required, the level of logistical support LEC can provide would be determined by the degree of overlap between the student’s data requirements and existing LEC activities and priorities.
Application and Selection Process
Leopard Ecology & Conservation is a small organization and has limited capacity for students, therefore we can only support a few applications at a time. Preference will be given to those research proposals that contribute most impactfully to Leopard Ecology & Conservation’s priorities and objectives.
LEC’s long-term objective is to make a meaningful contribution toward the conservation of large felid predators as key components of a healthy, functioning ecosystem. This requires an understanding of the status and habitat needs of leopards and lions both within and outside formal conservation areas, as well as the development of effective strategies to address threats such as human-predator conflict.
Current priority research questions for the period 2020-2025:
- What drives leopard and lion population dynamics in our study area?
- What are the key resources, in terms of prey, for leopard and lion populations in our study area?
- How do leopards and lions move through, and interact with, landscape features in the study area?
- How do leopards and lions interact with each other and with other species present in the Kalahari ecosystem?
- What impact does human activity have on predator ecology?
- What causes famers to perceive a predator as problematic?
- What interventions are most effective in reducing livestock predation activity?
- How does Khutse leopard and lion behaviour and ecology fit into the wider carnivore landscape in Botswana?
If you are interested in applying to study with us please fill out this form and send it with a current CV.
Students are responsible for funding their own research project. Leopard Ecology & Conservation can provide a letter of support for students that are applying for grants and bursaries to undertake their research project.