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Behavioural responses of cattle to shared foraging with wild herbivores in an East African rangeland

We assessed whether prior foraging by wild herbivores affected foraging behaviour of cattle in Laikipia rangeland, Kenya, during February 2001, August 2001 and February 2002. The study compared cattle bite rate, step rate and bites per step in plots exclusively accessible to cattle and those accessible to cattle and large wild herbivores. During February 2001 when conditions were dry, cattle bite rate was 18–19% lower, step rate 25–26% higher, and bites per step 36% lower in plots shared by cattle

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Water sources aggregate parasites, with increasing effects in more arid conditions

Shifts in landscape heterogeneity and climate can influence animal behavior and movement in ways that profoundly alter disease transmission. Amid accelerating climate and land use changes, it is increasingly important to identify and monitor hotspots of increased animal activity and overlap where disease transmission is likely to occur. Water sources that are foci of animal activity have great potential to promote disease transmission, but there has been very little work to quantify this, nor any comparison across a range of

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The changing role of natural and human agencies shaping the ecology of an African savanna ecosystem

Reconstructing the historical interplay of wildlife and pastoralists in the African savannas is clouded in contemporary studies by the transformation of subsistence societies and land use changes. We draw on five decades of monitoring by the Amboseli Conservation Program to illustrate the rainfall–-plant–herbivore linkages in a free-ranging wildlife–livestock system transitioning to contemporary savanna landscapes. In half a century, the coupled interactions of wildlife and livestock in the Amboseli ecosystem driven by rainfall and water sources have been severed and reshaped

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Comparing an automated high-definition oblique camera system to rearseat-observers in a wildlife survey in Tsavo, Kenya: Taking multi-species aerial counts to the next level

In aerial wildlife counts, human observers often fail to detect animals. We conducted a multi-species sample count in Tsavo National Park, Kenya, with traditional rear-seat-observers (RSOs) and an automated ‘oblique-camera-count’ (OCC) imaging system to compare estimates of 23 wildlife species derived from these two survey methods. An aerial Total Count of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, conducted a month previously, provided a further comparison. In the Tsavo Core (9560 km2), which harbours 80% of Tsavo’s elephants, the OCC system acquired 81

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Comparison of comprehensive health score in North American housed giraffe and free-ranging giraffe from South Africa

As in humans, stress is evident in many animal species and has been correlated to disease prevalence; yet a value for reliable quantification of chronic stress is unestablished. During stressful events, allostasis, an adaptive process, is initiated by physiologic systems to maintain or reestablish homeostasis to protect an organism’s viability. Over time, the acclimation to frequent stress causes systematic dysregulation, leading to the phenomena of increased allostatic load. In recent studies, allostatic load has been assessed in animal species via

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The status of wildlife in protected areas compared to non-protected areas of Kenya

We compile over 270 wildlife counts of Kenya’s wildlife populations conducted over the last 30 years to compare trends in national parks and reserves with adjacent ecosystems and country-wide trends. The study shows the importance of discriminating human-induced changes from natural population oscillations related to rainfall and ecological factors. National park and reserve populations have declines sharply over the last 30 years, at a rate similar to non-protected areas and country-wide trends. The protected area losses reflect in part their

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Zoonoses: a potential obstacle to the growing wildlife industry of Namibia

Zoonoses, which account for approximately 75% of emerging human infectious diseases worldwide, pose a re-emerging threat to public health. With an ever-increasing interrelationship between humans, livestock and wildlife species, the threat to human health will rise to unprecedented levels. Wildlife species contribute to the majority of emerging diseases; therefore, there is an urgent need to define control systems of zoonoses of wildlife origin but very little information exists. In this review, we examine prevalent zoonotic infections reported in Namibia between

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Modelling and predicting mammalian wildlife abundance and distribution in semi-arid Gonarezhou National Park, south eastern Zimbabwe

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to model and predict mammalian herbivore species abundance in Gonarezhou National Park (GNP), south eastern Zimbabwe. The study also aims to determine and evaluate the distribution-abundance patterns in GNP. Design/methodology/approach – Using aerial survey data from 1980 to 2016, the authors use the rank abundance model to determine the abundance of mammalian herbivores in GNP. Regression analysis is used to show the mammalian herbivore species distribution-abundance relationship. Findings – The findings point

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The landscape configuration and lethality of snare poaching of sympatric guilds of large carnivores and ungulates

Poaching of wildlife presents one of the biggest conservation challenges in the 21st century. Snaring is one of the primary means of capturing target animals. To prioritise interventions intending to reduce snaring, we describe an approach for quantifying the configuration and lethality of snares. We conducted transect surveys in Murchison Falls National Park. All the snares that we recovered were made of wire with the majority (81.0%, n = 546 of 674) deriving from vehicle tire wire. The density of

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Systematic aerial sample survey of Laikipia county, April 2016 Preliminary Report

A systematic aerial sample survey of Laikipia County (9666km2) was carried out in April 2016 by Kenya’s Directorate of Resource Survey and Remote Sensing survey teams in partnership with Laikipia Wildlife Forum and Mpala Research Centre, with funds from US AID. This report presents the preliminary results as a basis for use by management and for discussion on further analysis and application. The Laikipia upland plateau between Mount Kenya (5199m) and the Aberdare highlands (3999m) is an important area for

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