South African, South Africa
South African, South Africa

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Crawford R.,Branch Oceans & Coasts | Crawford R.,University of Cape Town | Randall R.,South African National Parks | Cook T.,University of Cape Town | And 15 more authors.
African Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2016

Numbers of Cape cormorants Phalacrocorax capensis breeding in South Africa decreased by nearly 50% from approximately 107 000 pairs in 1977–1981 to 57 000 pairs in 2010–2014. Although four colonies had >10 000 pairs in 1977–1981, there was just one such colony in 2010–2014. Almost all the decrease occurred after the early 1990s off north-west South Africa, between the Orange River estuary and Dassen Island. South of this, the number breeding in the two periods was stable, with some colonies being formed or growing rapidly in the 2000s. The proportion of South Africa’s Cape cormorants that bred south of Dassen Island increased from 35% in 1977–1981 to 66% in 2010–2014, with the opposite situation observed in the north-west. This matched a shift to the south and east in the distributions of two of the Cape cormorant’s main prey species, anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and sardine Sardinops sagax. In 2014, an apparent scarcity of prey in the north-west resulted in Cape cormorants attempting to take bait from hooks of fishing lines over an extended period, a behaviour not previously recorded. The number of Cape cormorants breeding in the south may be constrained by the absence of large islands between Dyer Island in the west and Algoa Bay in the east. If so, it may be possible to bolster the southern population through the provision of appropriate breeding habitat, such as platforms, or restricting human disturbance at suitable mainland cliff breeding sites. © 2016 NISC (Pty) Ltd

Crawford R.J.M.,Branch Oceans and Coasts | Crawford R.J.M.,University of Cape Town | Randall R.M.,South African National Parks | Whittington P.A.,East London Museum | And 18 more authors.
African Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2013

White-breasted cormorants Phalacrocorax [carbo] lucidus breed around South Africa's coast and at inland localities. Along the coasts of the Northern, Western and Eastern Cape provinces, numbers breeding were similar during the periods 1977-1981 (1 116 pairs at 41 localities) and 2008-2012 (1 280 pairs at 41 localities). Along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal (not counted in 1977-1981), 197 pairs bred at nine localities in 2008-2012, when the overall number breeding around South Africa's coastline was about 1 477 pairs. Between the two study periods, numbers decreased in the Northern and Western Cape provinces following the loss of several breeding localities, but they increased in the Eastern Cape. In the Western Cape, however, numbers were stable east of Cape Agulhas and at nine well-monitored West Coast localities that were surveyed from 1978 to 2012. White-breasted cormorants breed throughout the year, with breeding at some localities more seasonal than at others and the timing of peaks in breeding varying at and between localities. In the vicinity of Saldanha Bay/Langebaan Lagoon (Western Cape), in Algoa Bay (Eastern Cape) and in northern KwaZulu-Natal, it is likely that birds moved between breeding localities in different years, although breeding often occurred at the same locality over several years. Human disturbance, presence of predators, competition for breeding space and occurrence of breeding by other waterbirds may influence movements between colonies. Securing sufficient good habitat at which white-breasted cormorants may breed will be important for conservation of the species. The species may breed at an age of 4 years, possibly younger. The bulk of their diet around South Africa's coast consists of inshore marine and estuarine fish species that are not intensively exploited by humans. © 2013 NISC (Pty) Ltd.

Tambling C.J.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Minnie L.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Meyer J.,George Mason University | Meyer J.,Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology | And 4 more authors.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology | Year: 2015

The response of prey to predation risk varies through time and space. These responses relate to trade-offs between foraging and predator avoidance. Following the extirpation of predators from many landscapes, the responses related to predator avoidance may have been lost or diluted. Investigating the activity pattern of prey species on comparable landscapes with and without large predators provides an opportunity to understand how predators may shape prey activity and behaviour. Using camera trap data from neighbouring fenced sections of the Addo Elephant National Park (Eastern Cape, South Africa), we investigated the activity patterns of species exposed to large predators, where the predators were only present in one of the sections. Our results suggest that prey species at risk of predation (e.g., buffalo, kudu and warthog) are more likely to be active diurnally when co-existing with nocturnally active predators, thereby reducing the activity overlap with these predators. In the absence of predators, kudu and buffalo were more active at night resulting in a low overlap in activity between sections. Warthog activity was predominantly diurnal in both sections, resulting in a high overlap in activity between sections. The presence of predators reduced the nocturnal activity of warthogs from 6 to 0.6 % of all warthog captures in each section. Elephants, which are above the preferred prey weight range of the predators and therefore have a low risk of predation, showed higher overlap in activity periodicity between predator-present and predator-absent areas. Our findings suggest that maintaining prey with their predators has the added benefit of conserving the full spectrum of prey adaptive behaviours. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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