J.W. 'Tico' McNuttPhD, Founder and Director
Lesley McNuttMA, Co-founder and Director, Social Programs
Lesley's introduction to Africa was in the late 1980s when she worked and travelled throughout the continent. She returned to Africa in 1993 and found herself working in the Okavango Delta doing research for a natural resource management company. She met Tico and moved to Botswana in 1994. Lesley, originally from Ontario, Canada completed a Masters in Development Anthropology at McGill University in Montreal. Her research focused on resource management, human-wildlife conflict, and the relationships between protected areas and the adjacent lands, to establish human solutions for the preservation of Africa's large predators and their habitats. As the Director of Social Programs for BPCT, Lesley deliberated over the key question of "how can we have the most impact with our conservation efforts?" In 2002, Lesley spearheaded Coaching for Conservation (C4C), BPCT's major social development program aimed at getting kids interested and involved in conservation through organized sport. C4C's core values "Respect Yourself, Respect each Other, and Respect your Environment" aim to help the youth of Botswana build self-esteem, engage in constructive social exchange and develop an awareness and sensitivity to the environment they live and play in. The innovative program has grown tremendously over the last few years and as of 2010, C4C has reached 2,000 kids through an annual football camp and year-long after school programs. With Lesley's tireless dedication and enthusiasm, C4C continues to inspire children to lead healthy lives and protect themselves and protect their environment.
Researchers and Project Workers
Krystyna Golabek, PHDPost Doctoral Research Coordinator
Krystyna Golabek joined BPCT in 2011 as Research Coordinator and Post doctoral researcher. Krys’s main interests lie in communication and social cognition, and her PhD work at the University of Bristol investigated vocal communication in pied babblers, a cooperative bird species found in southern Africa. Krys’s post doctoral research at BPCT focuses on communication and social knowledge within the large carnivore guild; particularly exploring inter-specific awareness via various modalities of communication. Understanding how the top order predators avoid and/or search out each other is an important component to developing effective management strategies for these threatened and endangered species.
See a recent report on some of Krys' Pied Babbler research: http://planetearth.nerc.ac.uk/news/story.aspx?id=1147
Neil Jordan, PHDPost Doctoral Research Fellow - BioBoundary Research Project
Neil Jordan joined BPCT in 2011 as a Post-doctoral researcher on the African wild dog Bioboundary project. Neil’s main interests lie in scent communication and its potential application for conservation. His previous work investigated the function(s) of scent marking in wild carnivores and involved a combination of behavioural observations, field experiments and laboratory analyses of scent marks. He conducted his MSc through the University of Stellenbosch where he studied scent marking in meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, and followed this with a PhD at the University of Cambridge investigating scent communication in wild banded mongooses in Uganda. Prior to joining BPCT, Neil spent two years as the Pine Marten Project Manager, based in Herefordshire, UK and was responsible for the detection and promotion of pine marten conservation throughout England and Wales. Neil is now collecting detailed field data on scent marking behavior, and is conducting field experiments to assess the potential application of scent marks in managing the ranging patterns of African wild dogs.
Peter Apps, PhDResearch Partner, BioBoundary Project
Email: peterjapps at gmail dot com
Dr Peter Apps' joined the BioBoundary project in April 2008 to set up and run the wildlife semiochemistry laboratory. His background is a highly unusual combination of zoology and analytical chemistry; for his doctorate in zoology he developed and applied a completely new method of sampling mammal and insect signaling chemicals, and followed that with 20 years experience in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry; the ideal background to his current role of unraveling the chemical complexities of wild dog scent marks in order to identify the active components among the hundreds of compounds that the dogs secrete. Learn more about the BioBoundary Project.
The low concentrations and complexity of mammals' chemical signals test the limits of current analytical techniques, Peter's speciality in developing new methods and hardware frees the BioBoundary laboratory from having to use off-the-shelf equipment and standard methods.
As well as over 40 scientific publications in zoology and chemistry, he is the author of two books on southern African wildlife; "Wild Ways" and "Creatures of Habit", and is the editor of "Smithers' Mammals of Southern Africa, A Field Guide".
Lesego Mmualefe, PhDResearch Scientist, BioBoundary Project
Dr. Lesego Mmualefe joined the BPCT team in January 2010 after completing her doctoral degree in Analytical Chemistry at Rhodes University, South Africa. During her doctoral studies, Lesego carried out the first ever extensive analysis of pesticides in water and sediments from the Okavango Delta, Botswana, employing green sample preparation techniques that require small volumes of organic solvents and generate negligible volumes of organic solvent waste. She is a collaborator in the second phase of the work that investigates human exposure to pesticides in biota from the Okavango Delta. Her work with Dr Peter Apps in the chemical laboratory is aimed at unraveling the chemical compounds responsible for territorial scent marking in African wild dogs. Like the pesticide residues that she has previously worked with, the signaling chemicals are minute traces against backgrounds of hundreds of other compounds in dog urine. Learn more about the BioBoundary Project
Stopper Onalethata NkapeResearch Assistant, Shorobe Livestock Insurance Initiative
The biography and a photo are coming soon.
Joseph OlefileResearch Assistant, Shorobe Livestock Insurance Initiative
Joseph Olefile is a BTech student at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa where he received his National diploma in Nature conservation. Joseph Interned with the Kruger National Park under the unit of Game range and Law enforcement by performing patrols, camp management and collecting data for management purposes. Following his undergraduate career, he began a research assistantship with the “Adaptation of livelihoods and land-use to variable flooding patterns in the Okavango-Boteti system” project at the Okavango Research Institute of the University of Botswana where he helped with data collection and analysis. His current BTech project involves examining the Predator- human conflict in Shorobe area: Compensation as a key factor towards behavioral change. Joseph welcomes your e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Femke Broekhuis, MScPhD Student, Niche Segregation by Cheetahs
Femke was brought up in Zambia and Botswana where she was continuously exposed to the bush, and African wildlife. That proximity drove her passion for biology and animals, which has been the theme of her academic career. She moved to the Netherlands to do her Bachelors degree in Biology at the University of Utrecht. After completing her degree in Utrecht she continued with her education and completed a Masters in Wild Animal Biology at the Royal Veterinary College in London, in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London. Her thesis focussed on habitat selection patterns of cheetahs in the Serengeti, Tanzania. From there she became a research assistant at a chimpanzee project in Budongo Forest, Uganda. After five months in Uganda, she returned to Botswana (May 2008) and began work with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in the hope to be able to continue research of cheetahs. In October she was awarded the Kaplan Prize Scholarship and began her Ph.D. at Oxford University in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Having finished her field research in Botswana midyear in 2011, Femke is busy at Oxford/WildCRU writing her doctoral dissertation.
Gabriele Cozzi, MSc.PhD Student, Ecology of Intraguild Interactions between Carnivore Species
Gabriele first came to Botswana in 2003, after his second year at the University of Zurich to be a field assistant to a leopard and lion project for seven months in Khutse Game Reserve. In 2004 he returned to the country and spent five months on the farms around Lobatse city (southern Botswana) investigating the behaviour of leopards on farmlands.
Gabriele then moved back to Zurich and in 2006 I completed my Masters at the Institute of Environmental Sciences. His masters research investigated the influence of different landscape features on the occurrence and density of wetland-associated butterfly species. It is during this time that I developed my interest in landscape ecology and began to understand how the environment surrounding an individual is a key component that influences its behaviour and ecology.
Shortly after finishing his masters, he worked as biology teacher in the local high school before joining BPCT at the end of 2006 as a field researcher and prospective Ph.D. student. At BPCT he was able to combine his great passion on the behaviour and ecology of African carnivore species and the academic skills of landscape ecology acquired during his masters. He began his Ph.D. in March 2008 at the University of Zurich. His research focuses on patterns of habitat use and segregation between the African wild dog, the spotted hyena and the lion. Learn more about Gabriele's research. Having completed his field research in Botswana, Gabriele is now finishing writing his doctoral dissertation in Zurich.