Caracal Biodiversity Center – Kasane – Botswana

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Africa Business Category: NGO and WILDLIFEAfrica Business Tags: Botswana, Caracal, Caracal Biodiversity Center, Education, Kasane, Land Use, Nature, NGO, ONG and Wildlife

  • Profile

    Centre for Conservation of African Resources: Animals, Communities and Land use.

    CARACAL is a field based non-profit, non-governmental organization, which was started in 2001 in recognition of the need to integrate traditional and scientific understanding of natural resources and promote partnership between Government and local communities in natural resource management. Our projects include the development of conservation and research programs which contribute to sustainable wildlife utilization, wildlife conflict resolution, endangered species management, rescue of injured wildlife, ecosystem health, and training of government staff, communities and school children for natural resource management. The new Biodiversity Center in Kasane opened in 2010 and supports rescued wildlife as part of our educational program and is open to the public for visitation Monday-Saturday from 9-5. Come see Botswana’s natural wonders and enjoy our diverse collection of infamous snakes!

    Through Dr. Alexander, President of CARACAL, Virginia Tech is an important technical partner in all of our work!

    CARACAL is committed to the conservation of wildlife and improving the livelihoods of communities that must live with this resource in Botswana. Through a combination of research, outreach and education, we work closely with local communities and the Botswana government to secure a sustainable future.

    Our Research programs take a systems biology approach integrating communities, wildlife, and ecosystem dynamics to solve emerging societal problems.
    Research Areas – a collaborative program between CARACAL and the Alexander Wild Lab at Virginia Tech

    Can group living and the influence of Allee Effects explain infectious disease vulnerability in social species? Emergence of M. mungi in the cooperative breeding banded mongoose.

    The project is directed at investigating and characterizing interactions between infectious disease and Allee Effects in group-living banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) in Botswana infected with the novel, emerging tuberculosis (TB) pathogen, Mycobacterium mungi. This empirical study system will be combined with dynamical models to advance theory and computational approaches that can be applied to social wildlife species that are involved in infectious disease transmission. Understanding how group size and AEs drive these interactions will be critical not only to the survival of this species but also to our understanding of the factors influencing transmission of such diseases across other host species, including to humans, and control implications. Knowledge and tool generation will support improved predictive capacity and management of zoonotic diseases that threaten human and animal health and involve group-living wildlife hosts.

    Epidemiology of Mycobacterium mungi

    The goal of this study is to answer three questions regarding the epidemiology of a newly identified species of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, M. mungi. The project seeks to define the mechanism by which this pathogen infects the banded mongoose host, whether it can be transmitted through a non-respiratory pathway, and if there is an environmental transmission pathway. The study will take place in the
    Chobe district of Botswana, where the researchers have prior knowledge of many banded mongoose troops.

    Bringing New Light to an Old Disease

    In Botswana and globally, diarrhea remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality with the majority of deaths occurring in children under 5 years. Our assessment of diarrhea over 29 year period identifies the occurrence of biannual outbreaks that correlate significantly with meteorological variables. Integrating environmental data collected from a cohort of study households and diarrheal case reports from the village, the project will develop a refined understanding of the drivers of diarrheal disease and potential options for mitigating public health interventions.

    Conserving and maintaining forestry resources and services in Northern Botswana: sustaining community livelihoods through improved management and early warning framework in Chobe district

    The study is conducting a systematic assessment of forest resources in northern Botswana, identifying critical ecosystem services and threats Through participatory approaches, this program will engage communities in forest resource management; identifying opportunities for communities to sustainably utilize the resource, contributing to short- and long-term poverty alleviation, food security, and improved gender-specific rural livelihoods. Program approaches and outcomes will be broadly applicable to other water scarce regions where dependence on forest resources and ecosystem services is identified and poverty increases community vulnerability to resource degradation.

    The coupled dynamics of human-dryland river systems: linkages and feedbacks between human and environmental drivers of water quality and human health

    This project is focused on investigating the linkages between human health and the environment in Northern Botswana explicitly engaging environmental change and wildlife community dynamics as they occur around the only water source in the region – the Chobe river. The project integrates drivers of infectious disease from human behavior to water quality dynamics.

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