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Assessing the outcomes and consequences of large carnivore reintroductions to the Eastern Cape, South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Kerley, G.I.H.
dc.contributor.advisor Hayward, M.W. Banasiak, Natalia Matgorzata 2017-10-12T10:50:16Z 2017-10-12T10:50:16Z 2017 2017-10 2017 2017-04-10
dc.description.abstract Reintroduction is a potentially powerful tool available to conservationists to cope with species population declines. Nonetheless, it is poorly understood and past reviews tend to indicate poor results. Reintroduction, under the sensu stricto IUCN definition, must have a primary objective of conservation; however species can be released to sites in their indigenous range (reintroduction sensu lato) to meet other objectives. The outcomes of these reintroductions s.l need to be assessed to determine how effectively they achieve their varied objectives. A Web of Science review revealed that only 32.1% of 131 publications on reintroduction provided clearly defined success criteria. Using economic, ecological, conservation and problem animal management objectives as reintroduction s.l. drivers, I developed context-dependent success definitions for each objective to use in reintroduction outcome assessments. These success criteria were then used to assess the reintroductions s.l. of large carnivores, namely lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, spotted hyaena, and brown hyaena, to 16 private- and state-owned reserves in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Ecotourism and ecological restoration were the most common objectives for the reintroduction of top predators to these reserves. Overall the reintroductions of large carnivores have been successful in meeting their objectives. Only African wild dogs have failed to establish in the province. Causes of objective-specific failures for the other species in some reserves included introductions of same-sex populations, lack of breeding events and changes in reserve management objectives. Assessments for leopard and brown hyaena were inconclusive due to lack of monitoring data. The reintroduction of large carnivores to the Eastern Cape Province has also resulted in the emergence of human-carnivore conflict on neighbouring properties. Carnivores have reportedly escaped from 8 reserves (61.5% of reserves) in the Eastern Cape. A total of 75 conflict events on 68 neighbouring properties (36.7% of neighbouring properties) have been reported. There is a major gap in research around conflict resulting from carnivore reintroductions and future research is required to fully understand the situation in the province in order to develop effective mitigation methods. An adaptive management approach to reintroductions is encouraged to improve monitoring and ensure reintroductions continue to meet their objectives. Furthermore, emerging consequences, such as human-wildlife conflict, and related mitigation strategies should be incorporated into management of reintroduced populations. Communities surrounding reintroduction sites should be educated on lifting baselines where conflict-causing species are recovering to ensure continued success of reintroduction undertakings. National management plans should be developed for all large carnivore species to improve the conservation value of small, fenced reserves that are typical of South African conservation, through a managed metapopulation approach. Management plans should include social, political, and economic factors that can influence the success of reintroductions and ultimate conservation outcomes. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship National Research Foundation en_US
dc.format.extent 106 p. en_US
dc.format.medium pdf en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader en_US
dc.relation.uri en_US
dc.rights Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University en_US
dc.subject Carnivores - reintroduction en_US
dc.subject Wildlife reintroduction en_US
dc.title Assessing the outcomes and consequences of large carnivore reintroductions to the Eastern Cape, South Africa en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.rights.holder Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University en_US
dc.contributor.orcid 0000-0002-9757-3838 en_US

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