Project History & Aims
CARACAL is committed to the conservation of wildlife and improving the livelihoods of communities that must live with this resource in Chobe, Botswana. Through a combination of research, outreach and education, they work closely with local communities to secure a sustainable future.
CARACAL is located in Chobe, Botswana right next to the Chobe National Park within the Chobe-Kwando-Linyanti wetlands.
Communities and Wildlife
The programme strategy is directed at developing new ways of harnessing biodiversity to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty. They are particularly focused on trying to promote community capacity in natural resource management and strengthen the ability of management authorities to partner with local communities.
Emerging Infectious Disease and Environmental Change
Environmental change and the emergence of infectious disease is a critical issue, particularly when we look at the emergence of HIV/TB in Africa. Why and where will disease emerge? CARACAL is studying the emergence of TB in banded mongoose to better understand the dynamics of infectious disease and the disease transmission interface between humans and wildlife.
Conservation Planning, Education and Training
Developing training and environmental education programmes is very important and aimed at promoting improved natural resource management and rural livelihoods. The research programme is aimed at providing directed recommendations for improved resource management planning.
Commitment to Botswana Youth Development
Through assistance from the WildiZe Foundation, CARACAL has expanded the K-4-7 educational program to three different primary schools in Chobe. They also run a Library Club where students can learn through assistance from CARACAL staff how to use a computer and identify the importance of reading in personal development. CARACAL supports the cost of getting library cards so they can read about their world and dream of their future in it. CARACAL’s new volunteer teacher, Ms Moore, from the United States, is doing really well and takes over from the good work that Ms Sarah Yopp did in getting these clubs going.
No training or educational facility directed at meeting the need of communities in Chobe District exists, so with help from the WildiZe Foundation, CARACAL have built the first Biodiversity and Environmental Education Center in Botswana. The hope is this centre will serve as a showcase of outreach, research and education that will put Chobe, Botswana on the map of conservation.
You cannot dream of something you have not seen. You cannot care about something unless you can see its value and appreciate its beauty from the vantage of safety.
CARACAL Community Craft Center
Empowering and Strengthening Local Communities
CARACAL has set up a craft centre to allow Botswanans to own tourism for themselves. CARACAL’s Kathleen Alexander remembers meeting an older woman in Mabele, who showed her, with a lot of pride, an amazing hand-crafted basket she’d made, but said she had given up creating them as there was nowhere to sell it and no one would buy them. Historically tourism has been seen as something for the wealthy to be involved in and local hotels largely bought crafts from other countries for their craft sales. The craft centre has now come to fruition and will hopefully grow to give many opportunities to use the skills from local communities to support themselves.
How is Banham Zoo Supporting CARACAL?
In 2015 Banham Zoo donated £500 to CARACAL.
For more information please visit: www.caracal.info.
Photos courtesy of CARACAL.