Second year of good exchange with the Conservation Biology MSc students

For the second consecutive year, the Karoo Predator Project was invited to lecture the conservation biology MSc students at UCT.

The first day, Beatrice talked about her research and Nicoli presented the jackal narratives. On the second day, Marine gave a talk about her PhD journey, the creation of the Karoo Predator Project, the different methods she employed in the field to answer her scientific questions and the challenges she encountered along the way. She also gave some results from her research.

The students paid close attention to the talks and asked interesting questions, making it a real interaction that the three lecturers enjoyed a lot.

The Karoo Predator Project wishes all the students from the course success with their studies and in their future conservation career.


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Congratulations to Storme Viljoen!

The Karoo Predator Project is very proud of their M.Sc. student Storme Viljoen for handing in her Master thesis “Wildlife health in human-modified landscapes: epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens affecting black-backed jackals and caracals” on Monday at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The last past weeks have been extremely tough and busy for Storme who was a bit deprived of sleep (as you can see on the picture below). Congratulations Storme, we are very proud of you!

Storme Viljoen, exhausted after handing in her M.Sc. thesis at the University of Cape Town, having a little nap in the lab.

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For our French followers

For our followers who can read French, here is the last article published by the Project about the diet of predators in the Karoo:

The Karoo Predator Project thank the “Pôle Grands Prédateurs” for hosting articles about the project on their blog.

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Passing away of our friend and partner Piet Gouws

The Karoo Predator Project is deeply saddened by the passing of its partner and friend Piet Gouws. A memorial service was held in Laingsburg on Saturday 28/01/2017.

Piet will be profoundly missed, in the Karoo and beyond. We lost more than a partner farmer. Without him, the Karoo Predator Project would not have been born. It was Piet who asked Prof. Beatrice Conradie to help start a research project on predators and farming in the Central Karoo. He and his wife Marijke invited her and other researchers from UCT to stay on his farm and it soon became the base for the Karoo Predator Project. Later on, when Marine joined the project, he introduced her to many other farmers and welcomed her into his family as if she was his own daughter, in spite of the language barrier. He also welcomed Kai and Marion and accommodated them while they were conducting fieldwork and research on baboons. He continuously supported the Karoo Predator Project research, including the capture and release of predators. Piet even took care of an orphan caracal while we were looking for a place to reintroduce him – even though wild caracals were sometimes killing his own lambs.

Piet must have found it very challenging working with researchers, conservationists, French students and vegetarians! Everyone who’d ever had the privilege of working with him and his family always found them welcoming, caring and resourceful. We will miss him very, very much. This is truly a great loss to the Karoo Predator Project but we will keep on working with farmers to better understand predation in the central Karoo.

The Karoo Predator Project is sending out to his family, and especially his wife Marijke, his daughter Marlie and his son Pieter, its most heartfelt condolences and sympathy.

Sheep farmer Piet Gouws and his dog Rusty. Piet was one of the first farmers to be involved in the Karoo Predator Project research.

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Get-together in the Alps

Marine, Nathalie Houdin and Denis Palanque (our French photographers) met in the Alps at the beginning of the year, around a warm cheese pizza, to discuss the potential for a South African exhibition about the Karoo Predator Project. It has been more than a year since the three friends had seen each other. While it was snowing outside, Marine caught up with all the recent successes of the photographers and their IUCN prize, while Denis and Nathalie enquired about the Project and all the farmers.

We are looking for sponsors to help us set a photographic exhibition up in the Western Cape of South Africa, about the Karoo Predator Project. If you are interested in helping us, please contact us through our blog.

Some of Nathalie’s and Denis’ photographs will also be permanently exhibited in the new Human Wildlife Institute at the University of Cape Town.

Best wishes from -7°C Alps!


Nathalie Houdin, Marine Drouilly and Denis Palanque getting together to talk about the next step of the photography project linked to the Karoo Predator Project.

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On conservation photography…

Dear readers,

Happy New Year! To start 2017 well, I am glad to offer you the opportunity to read an interview (in English!) of our French photographers working on the Karoo Predator Project. Nathalie and Denis won a very competitive prize: the Terre Sauvage Nature Image Awards IUCN Bourse, while reporting on the Project, with their story in 12 pictures.

This is a short interview to know more about them and their work as conservation photographers: 



Conservation photographers Nathalie Houdin and Denis Palanque in the Karoo while reporting on the Karoo Predator Project.

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Reducing livestock depredation, a lesson from large carnivore studies

In December, 17 an interesting paper by Miller et al. was published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin about how effective different techniques (lethal and non-lethal) are to reduce livestock depredation by large carnivores.

Although the study dealt with large carnivores such as wolves and tigers, the lessons learnt could be useful for medium-sized carnivores such as black-backed jackals and caracals, also predating on livestock.

The study points out that there is little consensus about what methods are the most useful and under what circumstances, but also shows that preventive husbandry and deterrents seem to work the best in reducing livestock losses. However, the methods show wide variability and more research is desperately needed on the efficiency of lethal predator control methods and human guarding of livestock.

For more information about this paper, please visit Berkeley News:

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