Research Papers

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Comparison of the effects of artificial and natural barriers on large African carnivores: Implications for interspecific relationships and connectivity

1. Physical barriers contribute to habitat fragmentation, influence species distribution and ranging behaviour, and impact long-term population viability. Barrier permeability varies among species and can potentially impact the competitive balance within animal communities by differentially affecting co-occurring species. The influence of barriers on the spatial distribution of species within whole communities has nonetheless received little attention. During a 4-year period, we studied the influence of a fence and rivers, two landscape features that potentially act as barriers on space use and ranging behaviour of lions Panthera leo, spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta, African wild dogs Lycaon pictus and cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in Northern Botswana. We compared the tendencies of these species to cross the barriers using data generated from GPS-radio collars fitted to a total of 35 individuals. Barrier permeability was inferred by calculating the number of times animals crossed a barrier vs. the number of times they did not cross. Finally, based on our results, we produced a map of connectivity for the broader landscape system. Permeability varied significantly between fence and rivers and among species. The fence represented an obstacle for lions (permeability = 7·2%), while it was considerably more permeable for hyenas (35·6%) and wild dogs and cheetahs (≥50%). In contrast, the rivers and associated floodplains were relatively permeable to lions (14·4%) while they represented a nearly impassable obstacle for the other species (

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Reintroduction Decisions Taken at the Incorrect Social Scale Devalue their Conservation Contribution: The African Lion in South Africa

complexity of social–ecological systems - decision-making for conservation outcomes becoming difficult;reintroduction of top-order predator - the African lion, Panthera leo, in 37 different small reserves in South Africa;conservation practice - involving managing natural resources within intricate human context;terrestrial top-order predator reintroductions - in complex ecological and social environment;reintroduction decisions taken at incorrect social scale - devalueing conservation contribution, African lion in South Africa;reserve ownership - key social driver governing the scale at which decision-making about reintroduction takes place;decision-making about population establishment and management of reintroduced lions;management interventions and concerns - 24 reserves with reintroduced lions;scope of efforts to restore lions in South Africa - populations being successfully re-established in areas from which, extirpation had taken place

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Survey of gastrointestinal parasite infection in African lion (Panthera leo), African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and spotted hyaena (Crocuta crocuta) in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Little is known about gastrointestinal parasite infections in large carnivores in Africa and what is available is largely from East Africa. We collected faecal samples from nine spotted hyaenas (Crocuta crocuta), 15 lions (Panthera leo) and 13 African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) from Luangwa Valley, Zambia. The most common gastrointestinal parasites found were Isospora sp., Spirometra sp., Taeniidae, and Sarcosystis sp. Twenty-eight percent of all samples were co-infected with Spirometra sp. and Taeniidae, with co-infection rates highest among lions (67%). Thirty-three percent (3/9) of spotted hyaenas were infected with Isospora sp. Ninety-two percent (12/13) of wild dog were infected with Sarcocystis, similar to results from studies in South Africa. One lion was infected with a parasite whose morphology suggests Strongyloides sp., not previously been reported in lions. Samples from one lion and two spotted hyena yielded no gastrointestinal parasites. Overall, parasite species were consistent with those found from studies in other regions of Africa and are likely a result of ingesting infected prey. To our knowledge this study provides the most comprehensive survey of gastrointestinal parasite infection from this region of Africa to date and provides baseline data for future studies.

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