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Vertical zonation of browse quality in tree canopies exposed to a size-structured guild of African browsing ungulates

We investigated whether the food quality of tree foliage for African savanna browsers varies across the feeding height range of the guild. This was to address the question of why giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) generally feed at a higher level in the canopy than is accessible to all other browsers. We defined a giraffe browse unit (GBU) as the length of twig corresponding to the average “bite” taken by giraffes from two staple browse plants: Acacia nigrescens and Boscia albitrunca. We

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Mammal road-type associations in Kruger National Park, South Africa: Common mammals do not avoid tar roads more than dirt roads

The majority of Africa’s parks and conservation areas have a vast road network, facilitating motorized vehicle game viewing. These roads have an influence that is both road type- and species-specific, on the surrounding ecosystem. Due to their higher traffic volumes, we hypothesized that tar roads and their immediate surrounds within the Kruger National Park, South Africa, are avoided to a greater extent by medium-to-large mammals than comparable dirt roads in the park. We systematically recorded the presence of medium-to-large mammal

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South Africa’s private wildlife ranches protect globally signifcant populations of wild ungulates

Reversing biodiversity loss is a global imperative that requires setting aside sufficient space for species. In South Africa, an estimated area of 20 million ha is under wildlife ranching, a form of private land enterprise that adopts wildlife-based land uses for commercial gain. This land has potential to contribute towards biodiversity conservation, but the extent to which this occurs has not been evaluated. Using structured questionnaires of 226 wildlife ranchers, we assessed how the sector contributes towards the conservation of

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Wonderboompoort, South Africa: A natural game funnel for meat harvesting during the later Acheulean

We revisit Wonderboompoort, South Africa, in terms of its potential to have served as a natural game funnel during the Pleistocene later Acheulean. The geological and ecological time depth of the Magaliesberg landscape, allows us to use the current setting as suitable proxy for understanding past animal and early human land use. We formulate a set of four criteria for natural game-funnelling landscapes. Testing Wonderboompoort against these criteria, we demonstrate that the Magaliesberg range forms a topographic barrier with the

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Mammal Species Richness at a Catena and Nearby Waterholes during a Drought, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Catenas are undulating hillslopes on a granite geology characterised by different soil types that create an environmental gradient from crest to bottom. The main aim was to determine mammal species (>mongoose) present on one catenal slope and its waterholes and group them by feeding guild and body size. Species richness was highest at waterholes (21 species), followed by midslope (19) and sodic patch (16) on the catena. Small differences observed in species presence between zones and waterholes and between survey

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Anthropogenic Influences on Distance Traveled and Vigilance Behavior and Stress-Related Endocrine Correlates in Free-Roaming Giraffes

Giraffes are an important tourist attraction, and human presence to wildlife is increasing. This has an impact on an animal’s behavior and its endocrine correlates. Studies on other species show alterations in movement patterns, vigilance, and stress-related hormone levels in the presence of humans. Limited information is available on how anthropogenic activities alter giraffe’s behavior, social structure, and related endocrine parameters. The purpose of this study was to obtain insight into anthropogenic influences on giraffe’s behavior and adrenal activity. We

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Reported & Reported: Differences among local and international game hunting data and potential reasons on the example of South Africa

The South African wildlife tourism industry is based on trophy hunting and together with international wildlife trade it can represent a major treat to biodiversity conservation. Annually, thousands of hunters participate in hunting activities in South Africa and thousands of trophy items are traded across international borders. This research is a result of comprehensive quantitative analysis in how far data of trophy hunting kills and data of trophy export are consistent on the example of South Africa. Data were extracted

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Ecology of South African large herbivores in a managed arid savanna: body mass, local distribution, and parasites.

Large herbivores are an important natural resource for humans, but a high proportion of these species are classified as globally endangered. Current declines of these species are mainly caused by unsustainable harvesting and land use loss or conversion. These processes frequently increase herbivore mortality rates, and alter a species’ behaviour and local distributions. Because of their importance, humans frequently attempt to manage large herbivores to assure their sustainable use and effective protection. Nevertheless, these actions usually focus on managing and

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