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Ferreira S.M.,Scientific Services | Ferreira S.M.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Greaver C.,Scientific Services | Knight G.A.,Aerial Support Services | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The onslaught on the World's rhinoceroses continues despite numerous initiatives aimed at curbing it. When losses due to poaching exceed birth rates, declining rhino populations result. We used previously published estimates and growth rates for black rhinos (2008) and white rhinos (2010) together with known poaching trends at the time to predict population sizes and poaching rates in Kruger National Park, South Africa for 2013. Kruger is a stronghold for the south-eastern black rhino and southern white rhino. Counting rhinos on 878 blocks 3x3 km in size using helicopters, estimating availability bias and collating observer and detectability biases allowed estimates using the Jolly's estimator. The exponential escalation in number of rhinos poached per day appears to have slowed. The black rhino estimate of 414 individuals (95% confidence interval: 343-487) was lower than the predicted 835 individuals (95% CI: 754-956). The white rhino estimate of 8,968 individuals (95% CI: 8,394-9,564) overlapped with the predicted 9,417 individuals (95% CI: 7,698-11,183). Density- and rainfall-dependent responses in birth- and death rates of white rhinos provide opportunities to offset anticipated poaching effects through removals of rhinos from high density areas to increase birth and survival rates. Biological management of rhinos, however, need complimentary management of the poaching threat as present poaching trends predict detectable declines in white rhino abundances by 2018. Strategic responses such as anti-poaching that protect supply from illegal harvesting, reducing demand, and increasing supply commonly require crime network disruption as a first step complimented by providing options for alternative economies in areas abutting protected areas. © 2015 Ferreira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source


Pollard S.,The Association for Water and Rural Development | Biggs H.,SANParks | Du Toit D.R.,The Association for Water and Rural Development
Ecology and Society | Year: 2014

We aimed to contribute to the field of natural resource management (NRM) by introducing an alternative systemic context-based framework for planning, research, and decision making, which we expressed practically in the development of a decisionmaking "tool" or method. This holistic framework was developed in the process of studying a specific catchment area, i.e., the Sand River Catchment, but we have proposed that it can be generalized to studying the complexities of other catchment areas. Using the lens of systemic resilience to think about dynamic and complex environments differently, we have reflected on the development of a systemic framework for understanding water and livelihood security under transformation in postapartheid South Africa. The unique aspect of this framework is that allows researchers and policy makers to reframe catchments as being recognizable as complex socialecological systems, and by doing so, the possibility is opened to understand resiliency in the face of rapid transformation and crisis. Ultimately, this holistic approach can be used to understand the translation of policy into practice. We have emphasized our reflections on the development and use of the framework and the challenges and successes faced by collaborators in the process of adopting such an orientation. Because these are likely to characterize policy and decision-making processes in NRM in general, we have suggested that such a systemic framing can assist researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to adopt systems and resilience analyses in the process of planning and implementation. © 2014 by the author(s). Source


Lynam T.,CSIRO | Mathevet R.,CNRS Center of Evolutionary and Functional Ecology | Mathevet R.,Resilience | Etienne M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 6 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2012

Although the broad concept of mental models is gaining currency as a way to explore the link between how people think and interact with their world, this concept is limited by a theoretical and practical understanding of how it can be applied in the study of human-environment relationships. Tools and processes are needed to be able to elicit and analyze mental models. Because mental models are not directly observable, it is also important to understand how the application of any tools and processes affects what is measured. Equally important are the needs to be clear on the intent of the elicitation and to design the methods and choose the settings accordingly. Through this special edition, we explore how mental models are elicited using two approaches applied in two case-study regions. We analyze two approaches used in the Crocodile River catchment of South Africa: a graphically based approach, i.e., actors, resources, dynamics, and interactions (ARDI); and an interview- or text-based approach, i.e., consensus analysis (CA). A further experiment in the Rhone Delta (Camargue), France, enabled us to test a crossover between these two methods using ARDI methodology to collect data and CA to analyse it. Here, we compare and explore the limitations and challenges in applying these two methods in context and conclude that they have much to offer when used singly or in combination. We first develop a conceptual framework as a synthesis of key social and cognitive psychology literature. We then use this framework to guide the enquiry into the key lessons emerging from the comparative application of these approaches to eliciting mental models in the two case regions. We identify key gaps in our knowledge and suggest important research questions that remain to be addressed. © 2012 by the author(s). Source


News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

The big cat probably broke out by crawling under an electric fence after heavy rains dislodged earth over the weekend, SANParks spokeswoman Fayroush Ludick told Reuters. "We realized early yesterday morning when they check all the satellite tracking collars that he had escaped. We are awaiting a helicopter to begin an aerial search," Ludick said. The likelihood of him encountering a human being were slim, Ludick said, but urged people not to approach Sylvester should they come across him. "It's the very same lion that escaped last year. I think we should change his name to Houdini," Ludick added, referring to the famous Hungarian-American illusionist and escape artist. Last June, the animal nicknamed Sylvester, went on a sheep killing spree, wandering 300 kms (180 miles) before he was found taking a nap by rangers and airlifted from the Nuweveld Mountains, 5,800 feet (1,750 meters) above sea level. "We anticipate this operation will be a lot quicker because he is wearing a tracking collar," Ludick said.


Lane E.P.,National Zoological Gardens of South Africa | Huchzermeyer F.W.,University of Pretoria | Govender D.,University of Pretoria | Bengis R.G.,State Veterinary Services | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Abstract: Annual mortality events in Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Olifants River Gorge in Kruger National Park, South Africa, were experienced between 2008 and 2012, during which at least 216 crocodiles died. Live crocodiles were lethargic. Necropsy examination of 56 affected crocodiles showed dark yellow-brown firm nodules in both somatic fat and the abdominal fat body. In all of the 11 crocodiles submitted for histology, degenerative, necrotic, and inflammatory changes supported a diagnosis of steatitis in both fat types. Crocodiles are apex predators in this anthropogenically changed aquatic ecosystem that is used by humans upstream and downstream from the park for domestic, agricultural, fishing, and recreational purposes. This pathologic review of pansteatitis in crocodiles in the Olifants River system was part of a broad multidisciplinary research program. To date, no definitive causative agent has been identified. Epidemiologic evidence suggests that this event may have been a one-time event with long-standing repercussions on the health of the crocodiles. Pathologic findings are rarely documented in wild crocodilians. This study also reports on other conditions, including the presence of coccidian oocysts, capillarid and filaroid nematodes, digenetic trematodes, and pentastomes. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

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