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Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Ferreira S.M.,Scientific Services | Ferreira S.M.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Pfab M.,South African National Biodiversity Institute | Knight M.,Park Planning and Development | Knight M.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
South African Journal of Science | Year: 2014

The combination of increasing demand and high black market prices for rhino horn in Asian markets has fueled an escalation in rhino poaching since 2007, particularly in South Africa. This situation has in turn resulted in greatly increased rhino protection costs, loss in confidence by the private sector in rhinos, loss of revenue to conservation authorities and reduced rhino population growth rates. Within current CITES processes, management responses to threats posed by poaching to rhino persistence fall within a mixture of reactive responses of increased protection and law enforcement and some pro-active responses such as demand reduction tactics, along with a parallel call for opening a legal trade in horn. These rhino management strategies carry different risks and benefits in meeting several conservation objectives. An expert-based risk-benefit analysis of five different rhino management strategies was undertaken to assess their potential for delivering upon agreed rhino conservation objectives. The outcomes indicated that benefits may exceed risks for those strategies that in some or other format legally provided horn for meeting demand. Expert risk-benefit approaches are suggested to offer a rational, inclusive and consensus generating means of addressing complex issues such as rhino poaching and augmenting the information used within the CITES decision-making processes. © 2014. The Authors. Source


Buk K.G.,Birkeroed Parkvej | Knight M.H.,Park Planning and Development | Knight M.H.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2010

Black rhinoceros diet and browse availability was investigated in Augrabies Falls (AFNP), Karoo (KRNP) and Vaalbos National Parks (VNP) in South Africa. Rhino tracks were followed and 18,804 standard bite volumes recorded. Browse availability of each plant species was recorded by measuring 14,800 plants and calculating reachable browse volume. The diet comprised 51, 53 and 41 plant species in AFNP, KRNP and VNP, respectively, but three species accounted for more than 65% of the diet in each park, making diet less diverse than available browse in AFNP and KRNP. Browse availability explained 14%, 15% and 52% of diet selection in AFNP, KRNP and VNP, with consumption of most plant species significantly different from availability. A few plant species were so highly preferred that browsing intensities were unsustainable, while some common species were totally rejected. Pressure on the eaten browse averaged 4.4%, 14.5% and 1.3% annually of the volume in AFNP, KRNP and VNP. In the dry season, there was a two to sevenfold increase in browsing pressure on species with actively photosynthesizing tissues. A few key species, including Monechma and Zygophyllum species, were identified as potential early warning indicators of black rhino browsing impact. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source


Knight M.H.,Park Planning and Development | Knight M.H.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Seddon P.J.,University of Otago | Al Midfa A.,Breeding Center for Endangered Arabian Wildlife
Zoology in the Middle East | Year: 2011

This paper summarizes the status of and opportunities for transboundary conservation areas (TBCAs) in the Arabian Peninsula. Although there has been limited development of TBCAs in the Peninsula, the concept is seen regionally as valuable to: encourage collaboration and cooperation between conservation partners; provide a shared vision; enable joint and effective ecosystem management in a larger system; encourage social, economic and ecological partnerships; facilitate the development of a sustainable sub-regional economic base; and increase international cooperation at multiple inter-govemment levels. Three potential sites have been identified, each focused around a charismatic species for the region: The conservation of dugongs in the marine environment from the Gulf of Bahrain to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); the conservation of Endangered Arabian Oryx Oryx leucoryx in the UAE-Saudi Arabia-Oman border area; and the conservation of Critically Endangered Arabian Leopard Panthera pardus nimr in the Yemen-Oman terrestrial borders. There has been a call for a champion, such as the Sharjah government, to drive the process at the inter-govemment level, with representatives of relevant conservation authorities facilitating activities at the local level. © Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg. Source


Holness S.,Park Planning and Development | Holness S.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | Knight M.,Park Planning and Development | Knight M.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | And 2 more authors.
Zoology in the Middle East | Year: 2011

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) based systematic conservation planning can form the basis for prioritizing conservation actions in a strategic and efficient manner. However, to date in the Arabian Peninsula conservation plans have generally taken an ad hoc approach to prioritizing actions spatially. Previous Sharjah Conservation Workshops highlighted this gap in our understanding of the spatial patterns of biodiversity across the Arabian Peninsula, and in particular identified the need to specify areas where conservation priorities that cross-national boundaries exist, and which may be best addressed using a Transboundary Conservation Area (TBCA) approach. Therefore a GIS and systematic conservation planning workshop was held as part of the 2010 Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in the Arabian Peninsula in order to test the potential for conducting a rapid systematic conservation assessment for the Peninsula. This paper outlines the concept and benefits of systematic conservation planning, reports on the process, data analyses and initial outputs of the GIS and systematic conservation planning workshop, and charts the way forward for developing a more robust assessment for the Arabian Peninsula. © Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg. Source


Buk K.G.,Tshwane University of Technology | Knight M.H.,Park Planning and Development | Knight M.H.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
South African Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

To assist with identifying land for reintroduction, a habitat suitability model (HSM) for black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) was developed in the aridAugrabies Falls National Park,South Africa, from records of &ightings, feeding trails and dung middens. Logistic regression and Bayesian Information Criterion were employed to construct and select the best HSM from >35 eco-geographical variables. The modelled and the observed distributions of black rhinos did not differ (P = 0.323) and k-fold cross-validation confirmed the model's ability to predict the distribution of independent data. The HSM consisted of five variables: availability and equitability of three preferred foods, distance to roads, habitat heterogeneity, slope and shade. The variables 'distance to water'and 'rockiness'were also included in the confidence set of models. Only 50% of the study area had a habitat suitability exceeding 11%, but featured 89% of rhino locations. Of 10 vegetation communities, two with high volumes of favourite foods were preferred. Feeding areas with a high density of preferred food plants were also highly preferred. The riverine vegetation community was not preferred, because its abundant browse was not of the preferred species. The apparent avoidance of roads warrants more research and the attention of park managers. Source

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