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How do you stop yourself being trampled by an elephant in your sleep? Attach chilli peppers to a fence of course! That’s just one of the many things I learned from ecologist Dr Graham McCulloch. The 41-year-old from Ballyboughal in north Co Dublin has called Botswana home for 20 years.

“After I finished a degree in zoology at the University of Dundee in 1994, I got a contract as a safari guide with a company which was starting up in Botswana. All I wanted was a year’s experience, but that milestone came and went and I’m still here.”

Wooed by the wildlife, Graham began to research a PhD based on the Makgadikgadi wetlands of central Botswana. His study included monitoring the comings and goings of birds, prompting locals to nickname him “the Bird Man” or “Mr Flamingo”.

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