Steve Boyes: Conserving and protecting Africa's wilderness

National Geographic Explorer Steve Boyes is on a lifelong mission to protect the Okavango Delta.

Dr. Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa’s wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them through innovative and integrative methods. 

In 2015, Steve launched the Okavango Wilderness Project, a multi-year effort aimed at exploring and protecting the little known wilderness of the Angolan highlands that provides over 95 percent of the water that sustains the Okavango Delta and the biodiversity of the greater Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

The Okavango Delta is one of the largest freshwater wetlands in southern Africa and is home to over 1,000 species of plants, more than 480 species of birds, 130 species of mammals, and numerous species of reptiles and fish. 

To date, the Okavango Wilderness Project has discovered 26 species new to science, more than 75 species potentially new to science, and more than 130 species previously unknown in Angola.

The Okavango Wilderness Project has been surveying and collecting scientific data on the river system to better understand the threats facing this important ecosystem. Their work is helping form a critical baseline of information to help form solutions to the ongoing and emerging threats facing the landscape and wildlife in the Okavango Watershed. 

Additionally, they have been working with local communities; NGOs; and the governments of Angola, Namibia, and Botswana to secure permanent, sustainable protection for the greater Okavango Watershed.

Boyes also founded the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. He is also the scientific director of the Wild Bird Trust.

This Explorer's work is funded by the National Geographic Society
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