Large-scale distribution patterns of carnivores in northern South Africa: implications for conservation and monitoring
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Accurate assessment of carnivore population status is frequently hindered by insufficient distribution data. For northern South Africa we address this deficit by mapping new records from landscape-scale sign surveys, questionnaire interviews, problem animal records and camera trapping. The black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas and caracal Caracal caracal remain common and widespread. Ranges of the serval Leptailurus serval and brown hyaena Hyaena brunnea were much larger than previous estimates, reducing the risk of simultaneous extirpation across all occupied locations. The proportion of range area occupied was larger for several species, notably the leopard Panthera pardus, cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and serval. We conclude that the serval continues to recover from historical threats and is expanding into new areas. A larger brown hyaena range and less fragmented pattern of occurrence probably confers greater resilience to threats than was suggested by previous data. Reduced extinction risk arising from the increased area occupied by the cheetah and leopard is tempered by probable local range contraction. Our maps provide baseline information for monitoring the distribution of these six species, which is essential in managing ecological issues that have a spatial component such as responses to changing land use. Our results also demonstrate the utility of detection/non-detection surveys in rapid assessment of carnivore populations at large spatial scales.
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Thorn, M.; Scott, D.; Green, M.; Bateman, Bill; Cameron, E. (2009)Conservation and management of brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) is hampered by a lack ofinformation on abundance and distribution, which is difficult and labour-intensive to obtain.However, occupancy surveys offer a potentially ...
Brown hyaenas on roads: Estimating carnivore occupancy and abundance using spatially auto-correlated sign survey replicatesThorn, M.; Green, M.; Bateman, Bill; Waite, S.; Scott, D. (2011)Carnivore survey protocols that properly address spatial sampling and detectability issues are seldom feasible at a landscape-scale. This limits knowledge of large-scale patterns in distribution, abundance and their ...
van der Merwe, I.; Tambling, C.; Thorn, M.; Scott, D.; Yarnell, R.; Green, M.; Cameron, E.; Bateman, Bill (2009)We used scat analysis to study the diet of twosympatric medium-sized carnivores: brown hyaenaand black-backed jackal, in the NorthWest Province ofSouth Africa. Seven major dietary categories wereidentified from the scats, ...