There are several components to this Connectivity Conservation initiative including addressing Human x Wildlife Conflict (HWC) with innovative interventions, landuse changes, economic diversification, range and grazing land management, traditional cattle farming and development of a serviceable beef industry and a Wildlife Friendly Beef brand, community engagement in wildlife and cultural tourism, and transboundary ecosystem connectivity.
PHD, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR
THE RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION TEAM AT BPCT
J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt, (PhD) is the Founder and Director of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (www.bpctrust.org). He began his pioneering conservation work on African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) in the Okavango Delta in 1989 as a graduate student at the University of California, Davis. In the past 26 years, working in Botswana with graduate students, local staff and trainees, Tico has charted the individual life histories of hundreds of wild dogs spanning eight generations. After years of research on this previously misunderstood and persecuted species – Africa’s most endangered large carnivore-, the African wild dog is now among those most sought after by African wildlife tourists. Tico now supervises a growing team of researchers and students from around the world to fulfill BPCT’s broader mission: the conservation of all African large carnivore species. In 1996 Tico and his wife Lesley wrote the award winning book published by Smithsonian Books:“Running Wild: Dispelling the myths of the African Wild Dog”. They continue to supervise a research program and the research camp they built in 1990, and where they lived continuously for eleven years raising their two sons in the Eastern Okavango Delta. They now run BPCT from offices in the village of Maun where they have developed a Conservation Education Centre for local primary school children, a children’s wildlife education program called Coaching Conservation, and the Laboratory for Wildlife Chemistry, which is dedicated to deciphering the chemical language of territoriality of African wild dogs and other threatened wildlife species. Tico has been honoured with several awards including: the Distinguished Alumni Award for International Service in 2011 from the University of California Davis, Cal Aggie Alumni Association; the 2011 Tusk Conservation Award at the American Express Conservation Lecture Series at the Royal Geographic Society, London, UK; the 2015 Barrows Conservation Award at the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati, OH. USA; and the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award, at Lakeside School, Seattle, WA. USA.