Who we are
Wild Entrust International was established in 2007 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to support and grow the efforts of the original project, The Botswana Predator Conservation Program, led by two North American researchers and celebrated authors, Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt and his wife, Lesley Boggs, in Africa. Tico and Lesley have a research camp in the Okavango Delta, where they have lived nearly continuously for the past 20 years and raised two boys.
We have now expanded to support a variety of wildlife conservation organizations that share many of the same goals as our original project.
Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt
Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt began his pioneering work in the Okavango Delta in 1989 while working on his Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis. Dr. McNutt’s focus was the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), a distinct species about which little was known. Over the past 20 years, working with graduate students and local staff, Dr. McNutt charted the individual life histories of what is now more than 1,000 wild dogs spanning eight generations.
As a result of Dr. McNutt’s painstaking work, the African wild dog has been transformed from an almost unknown mystery to a widely recognized and reasonably well-understood predator with a distinct place in Africa. Early in 2006, in recognition of Dr. McNutt’s tireless and successful work, the government granted him the permit for research on several predators. The Botswana Predator Conservation Program became Botswana’s umbrella program for large predator conservation research.
Lesley Boggs McNutt
Lesley Boggs is Tico’s co-author and Director of Social Programs for the Botswana Predator Conservation Program and Trust. Since completing graduate work in Development Anthropology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Lesley’s research has focused on resource management, human-wildlife conflict, and the relationships between protected areas and the adjacent lands. Finding ways to promote human solutions for the preservation of Africa’s large predators and their habitats has been the focus of Lesley’s work.
In addition to publishing extensively in peer-reviewed journals, including Animal Behavior, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Conservation Biology and Journal of Zoology London, Lesley and Tico are the authors of the definitive and award-winning book Running Wild: Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog. The Botswana Predator Conservation Program and Trust has hosted a number of Ph.D. research projects and short-term internships under the direction of the program leaders.
Lesley and Tico are also committed to disseminating information about their work in the local area and more widely through tourism, such as through giving regular talks at camps in the delta and at guide-training seminars. Internationally, they lecture at universities and zoological societies and have published widely in popular magazines including Africa Geographic, Wildlife Conservation Magazine, and many other wildlife, travel, and general-interest publications. Their project was the subject of a National Geographic cover story in May 1999 and photographed by Chris Johns. They have been involved in several wildlife films, including the award winning BBC documentary. A Wild Dog’s Story (#1), A Wild Dog’s Story (#2), and most recently collaborating with the BBC during the filming of its Planet Earth nature documentary series.
Wild Entrust International increases its effectiveness through an elected team of internationally based, volunteer board members.
- Christian Fulghum, President/Chai
- Henry Waggoner, Treasurer
- Eden Waggoner, Secretary
- Lesley Boggs
- John W. McNutt
WEI thanks our generous donors and sponsors! If you would like to become a donor, please visit our donation page.
Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Ernie & Diane Burgess
Lee and Juliet Folger
Glenn & Kate Gardner
William A. Robinson
Carney Badley Spellman
Doug & Janet True
Bill & Ruth True
Bill & Jane Watkins
The organizations below are working toward similar goals as WEI. Please take the time to learn more about our friends and partners who share a passion for conservation.
The Calgary Zoo is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is the second largest zoo in the country. It is home to 1,001 animals and 290 different species, botanical gardens and a prehistoric park. The featured animal exhibits are organized by geographic region in large, realistic, and natural enclosures.
For the last two decades, Conservation International has worked with its partners to protect life on Earth. CI has saved some of Earth’s most critical sites and more than 200 million protected hectares on land and at sea. Its mission is to conserve Earth's living heritage—our global biodiversity—and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature.
"Over the past 17 years that I have been visiting Botswana and known Tico and Lesley, they have built an impressive conservation research program in Botswana that is a model for long term predator studies, applied science and carnivore conservation everywhere. Conservation International has promoted their efforts since the early years of its existence, and we are pleased with the creation of WEI, which marks the next great step in this truly significant work."
Roderic Mast, Vice President, Conservation International
Endangered Wildlife Trust
The Endangered Wildlife Trust was established in 1973 and is dedicated to conserving threatened species their habitats and ecosystems in southern Africa to the benefit of all people and communities.
The National Geographic Magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society. It published its first issue in 1888, just nine months after the Society itself was founded. National Geographic contains articles about geography, popular science, history, culture, current events, and photography. With a worldwide circulation in 32 language editions of nearly nine million, more than 50 million people read the magazine every month.
"For the more than 20 years I've been photographing and writing about conservation and, thankfully, I've come across some success stories. My most inspiring story is the success of the Botswana Predator Conservation Program. Dr. John McNutt and Lesley Boggs bring a longstanding commitment to ground breaking predator research, but it doesn't stop there. They also have a commitment to the citizens of their community. John and Lesley's work illustrates that solid science and community based conservation are the keys to ensuring that future generations will experience the wildness and beauty of the Okavango Delta."
Chris Johns, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Magazine
Painted Wolf Wine
The Painted Wolf Company is a new South African wine company founded by Jeremy and Emma Borg. It takes its name and inspiration from the African Painted Wolf (Lycaon Pictus), which is also known as the Cape Hunting Dog or African Wild Dog. A key element of Painted Wolf is the company’s support for the conservation of African Wild Dogs, preservation of African wild places, and other conservation initiatives.
Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival
Mike MacDougall, founder of the Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, has organized for the donation of the Coat Check Earnings to go to the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust for over 5 years via a partnership with the Calgary Zoo.
Tusk Trust was formed in 1990 as a field operating trust in response to an international call to support conservation initiatives in Africa. Tusk Trust promotes the protection of wildlife and habitats, sustainable rural community development, environmental education programs, responsible tourism, and constructive wildlife research throughout Africa.
Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild lands through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.
Woodland Park Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos on the West Coast of the United States, located in Seattle, Washington. Its mission is to save animals and their habitats through conservation leadership and engaging experiences, inspiring people to learn, care and act. The Zoo encompasses 92 acres and features more than 1,090 individual animals representing nearly 300 species. Read the full story (180k PDF).
Zoological Society of Philadelphia
Incorporated in 1859, the Zoological Society of Philadelphia began and continues to operate the Philadelphia Zoo, which is involved in helping endangered species in places around the world, including the countries of Madagascar, Brazil and Kenya.