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Rujeni N.,College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda | Mbanzamihigo L.,Without A Box
Journal of Tropical Medicine | Year: 2014

The incidence of human brucellosis is not documented in Rwanda despite several reports on the disease in cattle. Because brucellosis has been associated with abortion, the aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of positive serology in women presenting with abortion and/or stillbirth. The study was done in Huye District, in the Southern Province of Rwanda, and the patients were recruited from both the University Teaching Hospital of Butare (CHUB) and Kabutare District Hospital. Serum samples were collected and the Rose Bengal plate test (RBPT) was performed on each sample. A questionnaire was also used to investigate potential contacts with animals and/or consumption of raw milk. A total of 60 women were recruited and 15 (i.e., 25%) were Brucella seropositive. The questionnaire showed that those with seropositivity either were in contact with domestic animals (cattle, goat, or sheep) or were consuming raw cow's milk. Human brucellosis appears to be of public health importance in Rwanda and more attention should be drawn on the disease. The current study provides a basis for larger studies to establish the incidence of human brucellosis in Rwanda. More mechanistic studies will also demonstrate the pathogenicity of Brucella in human placentas. © 2014 Nadine Rujeni and Léonidas Mbanzamihigo.

Roever C.L.,University of Pretoria | Beyer H.L.,University of Queensland | Chase M.J.,University of Pretoria | Chase M.J.,Without A Box | And 2 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2014

Aim: Habitat selection is a behavioural mechanism by which animals attempt to maximize their inclusive fitness while balancing competing demands, such as finding food and rearing offspring while avoiding predation, in a heterogeneous and changing environment. Different habitat characteristics may be associated with each of these demands, implying that habitat selection varies depending on the behavioural motivations of the animal. Here, we investigate behaviour-specific habitat selection in African elephants and discuss its implications for distribution modelling and conservation. Location: Northern Botswana, Africa, case study. Methods: We use Bayesian state-space models to characterize location time series data of elephants into two behavioural states (encamped and exploratory). We then develop habitat selection models for each behavioural state and contrast them to models based on data pooled among behaviours. Results: Spatial predictions of habitat use were often markedly different among the models. Behaviour-specific and pooled habitat selection models differed in model structure, the magnitude of model coefficients and the form of the selection curve (linear or quadratic). Selection was typically strongest in the behaviour-specific models, although this varied according to behavioural state and habitat covariate. Main conclusions: Ignoring behavioural states often had important consequences for quantifying habitat selection. Quantifying selection irrespective of behaviour (among all behaviours) can obscure important species-habitat relationships, thereby risking weak or incorrect inferences. Behaviour-specific habitat selection provides greater insight into the process of habitat selection and can improve predictive habitat selection estimates. As some behaviours are more relevant to specific conservation objectives than others, focusing on behaviour-specific selection could improve how habitats are prioritized for conservation or management. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

McNicholl D.,Without A Box
The Future of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Low-Income Countries: Innovation, Adaptation and Engagement in a Changing World - Proceedings of the 35th WEDC International Conference | Year: 2011

Confrary to the author's expectations, lack of access to spare parts was not found to be a leading cause of Afridev hand pumps remaining broken in Northern Malawi. This paper presents the findings of a broad study of spare parts access in the region, exploring how rural communities access Afridev spare parts and how the location of those communities affects their ability to do so. Study results find no relationship between the distance from a community to the nearest spare parts retailer and the duration of a pump breakdown, nor that access to spare parts is a key limiter of waterpoint functionality. Findings suggest that community ownership, organization, and willingness to repair a waterpoint are the most signijI cant factors affecting how quickly a pump is repaired. The study also investigates the functionality of the retail supply chain, finding that the private-sector in Malawi is responsive to community spare part needs.

Roever C.L.,University of Pretoria | van Aarde R.J.,University of Pretoria | Chase M.J.,University of Pretoria | Chase M.J.,Without A Box | Chase M.J.,San Diego Zoos Institute for Conservation Research
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

Empirical models of habitat selection are increasingly used to guide and inform habitat-based management plans for wildlife species. However, habitat selection does not necessarily equate to habitat quality particularly if selection is maladaptive, so incorporating measures of fitness into estimations of occurrence is necessary to increase model robustness. Here, we incorporated spatially explicit mortality events with the habitat selection of elephants to predict secure and risky habitats in northern Botswana. Following a two-step approach, we first predict the relative probability of use and the relative probability of mortality based on landscape features using logistic regression models. Combining these two indices, we then identified low mortality and high use (primary habitat) and areas of high mortality and high use (primary risk). We found that mortalities of adult elephants were closely associated with anthropogenic features, with 80% of mortalities occurring within 25. km of people. Conversely, elephant habitat selection was highest at distances of 30-50. km from people. Primary habitat for elephants occurred in the central portion of the study area and within the Okavango Delta; whereas risky areas occurred along the periphery near humans. The protected designation of an area had less influence on the proportion of prime habitat therein than did the locations of the area in relation to human development. Elephant management in southern Africa is moving towards a more self-sustaining, habitat-based approach, and information on selection and mortality could serve as a baseline to help identify demographic sources and sinks to stabilize elephant demography. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Chase M.J.,Without A Box | Chase M.J.,Institute for Conservation Research | Griffin C.R.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2011

Angola's intermittent 27-year civil war displaced over four million people and decimated wildlife populations. During the 1980s, African elephants (Loxodonta africana Blumenbach) in Angola drew international alarm with reports of 100,000 elephants killed. Luiana Partial Reserve (PR), a conservation area in south-east Angola, was the military operations centre for UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), which used elephant ivory to pay for arms and meat. However, the full impact of the civil war on elephants is uncertain because there are no reliable estimates of Angolan elephant populations. Following the end of the civil war in 2002, our three aerial surveys of Luiana PR indicated that elephant numbers are increasing rapidly, from 366 in January 2004 to 1827 in November 2005, and expanding their range in the Reserve. Concurrently, elephants tagged with satellite collars in northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip, Namibia, moved into Luiana PR. To facilitate re-colonization and conservation of elephants and other wildlife in Luiana PR, we recommend: (i) realignment of the veterinary fence on the Botswana-Namibia border; (ii) development of effective land use management and anti-poaching programmes; (iii) clearing of landmines; (iv) designation of the Reserve a national park; and (v) development of ecotourism and community conservation programmes. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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