The Karoo Predator Project will be at the SAWMA Symposium, Limpopo

Dear readers,

The Karoo Predator Project is happy to announce that Dr. Marion Tafani, Storme Viljoen and Marine Drouilly (along with Prof. Justin O’Riain) will be presenting some of their research during the SAWMA Symposium held in September (18-21) at Tzaneen Country Lodge in the Limpopo Province.

Marion will talk (morning of the 20th) about chacma baboons and the emerging and intensifying conflict with sheep farmers in the Central Karoo. Her study is the first to ever investigate Karoo baboon ecology and to delve into the spatial predictors of baboon presence on the farmlands of this semi-arid area. With the help of a range of different methods, she will discuss factors that may have promoted sheep predation by the primate in the Karoo and the importance of alternative management methods.

Storme will give a talk (afternoon of the 21st) to inform us about the epidemiology of pathogens occurring in wildlife populations. She will talk about diversity and prevalence of approximately 40 tick-borne pathogens in Karoo black-backed jackals and caracals, as well as caracals from Namaqualand and the Cape Peninsula. Her work contributes to our knowledge of black-backed jackals pathogen diversity and represents the first detailed study of blood pathogens and disease in caracals. It provides a first step in understanding how predator pathogens vary in rural and urban landscapes, and proved critical baseline data in the Karoo region, which faces imminent land use change impacts.

Marine will present her work (afternoon of the 21st) on the diets of sympatric black-backed jackal and caracal, as well as their prey preference on small-livestock farms and Anysberg Nature Reserve. She will discuss dietary niche breadth in each site and overlap between the two mesopredators and an apex predator presents in the reserve: the leopard. She will show how the dietary differences illustrate a shift to feeding between the two land-use types and will discuss the implications of her results in the farmer-predator conflict framework.

We are looking forward to meeting new people and farmers at the Symposium. See you there! It is going to be innovative and interesting!

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