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Title: Conserving widely distributed wildlife species in an African savanna : parks, cattle-grazing and community-managed areas
Author: Senyatso, Kabelo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 4423
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2011
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Growing evidence suggests many widely distributed low-density tropical species are declining, but whether protected areas and the increasingly promoted multi-use community-managed wildlife areas mitigate causal threats is poorly studied. Lack of monitoring data and poorly understood species ecology limit knowledge of patterns, causal mechanisms and degree of abundance or range declines. Working in an African savanna, where bushmeat hunting and cattle-grazing are considered the greatest threats to wildlife, this thesis combined three approaches to study the conservation ecology of widely distributed wildlife at three spatial scales (continent-wide; landscape; home range). The continent-wide conservation status of Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori was assessed by reviewing occurrence records (1863–2009) across its range (14 countries). Range contraction was quantified by examining the proportion of historical records (pre-1970) falling within the area delineated by recent records (1970–2009), finding 8% (southern) and 21% (East Africa) declines in 146 years. In contrast, qualitative evidence from historical published accounts and contemporary expert assessments suggested widespread declines in abundance; thus numbers have declined considerably but without commensurate range contraction. Examination of seasonal home range use using satellite telemetry showed that female Kori are sedentary in central Botswana,with strong site-fidelity to dry-season home ranges associated with resource-rich pan habitats; the species appears sensitive to localised habitat conditions and resource availability. However, an assessment of the differential response of Kori and 20 other large-bodied vertebrates to protected areas, wildlife management areas and unprotected areas showed most species’ abundance was driven by proximity to human settlement,interpreted as sensitivity to unregulated hunting, with no effect of differential cattle stocking densities. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that cattle can affect habitat structure, but their effects on Kalahari wildlife were not perceptible, suggesting that conservationists’ preoccupation in African savannas with cattle and their perceived impacts rather than unregulated hunting may be misplaced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available