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Arusha, Tanzania

Kiwango Y.,Lake Manyara National Park | Moshi G.,Mahale Mountains National Park | Kibasa W.,Rubondo Island National Park | Mnaya B.,Tanzania National Parks
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

A demonstration project was set up to create two small papyrus wetlands in villages on the shores of Lake Victoria near Rubondo Island National Park, aimed at helping the community to replenish the fish stock in the lake and to improve socio-economics. The wetlands were constructed by using locally available means and they are owned and successfully managed by the villages to support community-based activities. We describe the approach, methodology and design of these plots. 2 years after the wetlands were created, the above-ground papyrus biomass was found to be comparable with that of pristine papyrus wetlands at Mlaga Bay in Rubondo Island National Park. Light trap data shows increased fish around the area. This correlated well with the results of questionnaire survey from the community around the created wetland. Our study shows that the degraded wetlands around Lake Victoria can be recreated by using locally available means, to restore most of the vital functions of those wetlands as they were before destruction, and improve the socio-economics of the local communities. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Strauss M.K.L.,University of Minnesota | Kilewo M.,Tanzania National Parks | Rentsch D.,Outreach | Packer C.,University of Minnesota
Population Ecology | Year: 2015

The iconic giraffe, an ecologically important browser, has shown a substantial decline in numbers across Africa since the 1990s. In Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, giraffes reached densities of 1.5–2.6 individuals km−2 in the 1970s coincident with a pulse of Acacia tree recruitment. However, despite continued increases in woody cover between the 1980s and the 2000s, giraffe recruitment and survival rates have declined and density has dropped to only 0.3–0.4 giraffes km−2. We used a decision table to investigate how four extrinsic factors may have contributed to these declines: food supply, predation, parasites, and poaching, which have all been previously shown to limit Serengeti ungulate populations. Lower recruitment likely resulted from a reduction in diet quality, owing to the replacement of preferred trees with unpalatable species, while decreased adult survival resulted from illegal harvesting, which appears to have had a greater impact on giraffe populations bordering the western and northern Serengeti. The Serengeti giraffe population will likely persist at low-to-moderate densities until palatable tree species regain their former abundance. Leslie matrix models suggest that park managers should meanwhile redouble their efforts to reduce poaching, thereby improving adult survival. © 2015, The Society of Population Ecology and Springer Japan.

Hopcraft J.G.C.,University of Glasgow | Morales J.M.,National University of Comahue | Beyer H.L.,University of Queensland | Borner M.,University of Glasgow | And 4 more authors.
Ecological Monographs | Year: 2014

Large-herbivore migrations occur across gradients of food quality or food abundance that are generally determined by underlying geographic patterns in rainfall, elevation, or latitude, in turn causing variation in the degree of interspecific competition and the exposure to predators. However, the role of top-down effects of predation as opposed to the bottom-up effects of competition for resources in shaping migrations is not well understood. We studied 30 GPS radio-collared wildebeest and zebra migrating seasonally in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem to ask how predation and food availability differentially affect the individual movement patterns of these co-migrating species. A hierarchical analysis of movement trajectories (directions and distances) in relation to grass biomass, high-quality food patches, and predation risk show that wildebeest tend to move in response to food quality, with little attention to predation risk. In contrast, individual zebra movements reflect a balance between the risk of predation and the access to high-quality food of sufficient biomass. Our analysis shows how two migratory species move in response to different attributes of the same landscape. Counterintuitively and in contrast to most other animal movement studies, we find that both species move farther each day when resources are locally abundant than when they are scarce. During the wet season when the quality of grazing is at its peak, both wildebeest and zebra move the greatest distances and do not settle in localized areas to graze for extended periods. We propose that this punctuated movement in highquality patches is explained by density dependency, whereby large groups of competing individuals (up to 1.65 million grazers) rapidly deplete the localized grazing opportunities. These findings capture the roles of predation and competition in shaping animal migrations, which are often claimed but rarely measured. © 2014 by the Ecological Society of America.

Harper K.N.,Columbia University Medical Center | Fyumagwa R.D.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Hoare R.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Wambura P.N.,Sokoine University of Agriculture | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

It has been known for decades that wild baboons are naturally infected with Treponema pallidum, the bacterium that causes the diseases syphilis (subsp. pallidum), yaws (subsp. pertenue), and bejel (subsp. endemicum) in humans. Recently, a form of T. pallidum infection associated with severe genital lesions has been described in wild baboons at Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania. In this study, we investigated ten additional sites in Tanzania and Kenya using a combination of macroscopic observation and serology, in order to determine whether the infection was present in each area. In addition, we obtained genetic sequence data from six polymorphic regions using T. pallidum strains collected from baboons at two different Tanzanian sites. We report that lesions consistent with T. pallidum infection were present at four of the five Tanzanian sites examined, and serology was used to confirm treponemal infection at three of these. By contrast, no signs of treponemal infection were observed at the six Kenyan sites, and serology indicated T. pallidum was present at only one of them. A survey of sexually mature baboons at Lake Manyara National Park in 2006 carried out as part of this study indicated that roughly ten percent displayed T. pallidum-associated lesions severe enough to cause major structural damage to the genitalia. Finally, we found that T. pallidum strains from Lake Manyara National Park and Serengeti National Park were genetically distinct, and a phylogeny suggested that baboon strains may have diverged prior to the clade containing human strains. We conclude that T. pallidum infection associated with genital lesions appears to be common in the wild baboons of the regions studied in Tanzania. Further study is needed to elucidate the infection's transmission mode, its associated morbidity and mortality, and the relationship between baboon and human strains. © 2012 Harper et al.

Durant S.M.,UK Institute of Zoology | Durant S.M.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Durant S.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Craft M.E.,University of Glasgow | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2011

1. Carnivores can have critical impacts on ecosystems, provide economic value through tourism and are often important flagships. However, their biological traits (e.g. low density, cryptic colouration and behaviour) make them difficult to monitor and hence wildlife managers rarely have access to reliable information on population trends, and long-term information at the community level is almost completely lacking. 2. We use data from transect counts in the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania to examine trends in abundance for seven co-existing carnivore species. Distance-based transect counts between 2002 and 2005 are compared with adjusted data from fixed-width transect counts across the same area in 1977 and 1986. 3. Distance-based methods provided density indices for the seven most commonly seen carnivores: lion Panthera leo, spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta, golden jackal Canis aureus, black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas, cheetah Acinonyx jubatus, side-striped jackal Canis audustis and bat-eared fox Otocyon megalotis. Detection curves were used to correct estimates from earlier fixed-width transect counts. 4. Trend analyses detected significant declines in densities of golden and black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox, but found no significant changes in spotted hyaena, lion, cheetah and side-striped jackal. 5. Overall, despite wide confidence intervals, we show that distance-based data can be used effectively to detect long-term trends and provide critical information for conservation managers. Power analysis demonstrated that for the most frequently seen species, spotted hyaena, golden jackal and lion, abrupt declines of up to 20% may be detectable through long-term monitoring; however, for the remaining species, declines of 50% may only be detected half the time. 6. Synthesis and applications. Distance methods provide a tool for rapid counts and monitoring of several species of carnivores simultaneously in suitable habitats and can be combined with historical fixed-width transect counts to test for changes in density. The method can provide key information to managers on long-term population trends and sudden abrupt changes in population size across a carnivore community. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

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