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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2019 → Characteristics, determinants and management of farmer-predator conflict in a multi-use dryland system, South Africa

University of Cape Town (2019)

Characteristics, determinants and management of farmer-predator conflict in a multi-use dryland system, South Africa

Drouilly, Marine Justine

Titre : Characteristics, determinants and management of farmer-predator conflict in a multi-use dryland system, South Africa

Auteur : Drouilly, Marine Justine

Université de soutenance : University of Cape Town.

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2019

Résumé
Extensive livestock farming provides an important source of food and fibre for humans and is often the only commercially viable land use in the more arid regions of the globe. Pastoralism can however lead to natural habitat degradation, fragmentation of landscape by fencing and conflict between livestock farmers and predators. Collectively these impacts have been identified as major threats to biodiversity in general and predators in particular. In the semi-arid Central Karoo region of South Africa, extensive small-livestock farming is the primary use of land and provides local predators with a plentiful supply of unguarded, easy-to-catch sheep in addition to permanent artificial water sources. The result is a widespread and pervasive conflict between farmers and predators and amongst diverse stakeholders on how to best manage both livestock and predators to reduce such conflict. A major impediment to understanding human-predator conflict on farmland and its impacts on biodiversity is the paucity of relevant applied research. Most research on mesopredators in South Africa has been conducted in protected areas (PA) or at the level of a single farm, precluding the generalisation of results to broader regions, and therefore limiting our understanding of the conflict on farmlands more generally. In this thesis I sought to better understand farmer-predator conflict in the Karoo region of South Africa with an emphasis on measuring the impacts of livestock farming on wildlife in general and how predators in particular impact livestock. I hypothesized that ecological, environmental and socio-economic factors would all contribute to the negative interactions between predators and small-livestock farmers, and to the persistence of the two most prevalent predators in the region, the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) and the caracal (Caracal caracal), despite sustained lethal control. I addressed this hypothesis by first using camera trapping surveys to compare wildlife species richness on farmland with a nearby and similar-sized PA to assess the impacts of small-livestock farming on wildlife diversity and occupancy, notably predators. I then used scat analysis to compare the diet of jackal and caracal with those of conspecifics living in the PA to understand whether predators on farmland are targeting livestock or simply including them opportunistically in their diet. I also used Global Positioning System (GPS) clusters from collars affixed to mesopredators to determine whether jackal and caracal actively kill versus scavenge on livestock.

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