Today, we would like to give you some news from our collaborator and post-graduate student, Storme Viljoen. Storme was working on the Karoo Predator Project and her MSc thesis project was titled: “Wildlife health in human-modified landscapes: epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens affecting black-backed jackals and caracals”.
Storme has recently published her work related to tick-borne pathogens in caracals so we’ve asked her to give us some news about what she’s been up to since her MSc, as well as some info about her newly published paper. Here is a message from her:
“It has certainly been a long time since I provided any news, but the time has been well spent and fruitful. Since graduating in 2017, I have been working in conservation research and education, and am currently working as a project manager with an international non-government organisation that focusses on wildlife trade. I’ve lived and worked in Kruger National Park and even travelled to Sweden to work with farmers on their human-wildlife conflict challenges! I worked with a number of PhD students looking at crop damage by geese and cranes and learned about research being done on red foxes and grey wolves. They were fascinated to hear about our wildlife in SA!
However, what prompts me to write an update now is some really fantastic news. After a great deal of hard work and collaboration, we have finally published our article on the blood pathogens carried by South African caracals. We compared the populations from the Central Karoo with others in Namaqualand and Cape Town and found that the farmland caracals showed very distinctive infections compared with those living close to urban areas in Cape Town. Central Karoo and Namaqualand have much lower levels of infection, and are not affected by pathogens also carried in domestic dogs and cats. This is the first research focussed exclusively on caracals as hosts of blood pathogens to be published in the world, and we are pleased to say that it was published in a well-respected international journal, Parasites and Vectors. Once again, many thanks to all of the supporters of the Karoo Predator Project. In particular, thank you to the farmers who hosted us, included us in meetings and helped us with our important research.”
Congratulations Storme! We, at the Karoo Predator Project, are very proud of what you’ve accomplished since the end of your MSc and well done on publishing your research. We wish you all the best in your future conservation work!
You can read Storme’s scientific article by following this link: https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-020-04075-5