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Showing posts from January, 2015

How cat flaps for warthogs can help save the cheetah

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This is from my latest piece in The Conversation on my latest journal article in African Journal of Ecology.


Southern Africa’s game farms are private reserves that house wildlife such as giraffes, zebras and antelope to be used for restocking national parks, meat production or trophy hunting. But these farms have a problem. Warthogs and porcupines want to move around the reserves too, and they have an annoying habit of making large holes under the boundary fences to burrow their way in and out. For cheetahs, these holes are an ideal way to get inside and prey on the valuable game.

Cheetahs are considered pests in these reserves and, in Namibia, game farmers end up killing more cheetahs than livestock farmers do. These game farms needed to find a way to let the warthogs in while keeping the big predators out.

Warthogs in, cheetahs out. Niki Rust, Author provided

The solution is simple but unusual – have you ever considered whether your cat flap might be used by other animals besides your f…

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise – Europe’s bears are back

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Latest article published in The Conversation on the recolonisation of predators in Europe. This features an interview with me on my views on this topic.

Anyone got any loo roll? Kjell Isaksen

In a rare conservation success story, research has shown that numbers of wild large carnivores in the continent have been steadily increasing and a third of the European mainland now has at least one kind of large carnivore.

There are an estimated 17,000 brown bears, 12,000 wolves, 9,000 lynx and 1,250 wolverines living in Europe – nowhere near historical levels, but a healthy amount all the same. But what’s more surprising is that these populations are found in the same places as people.

In a new study in the journal Science containing the most exhaustive data set ever collected on large carnivores in Europe, Guillaume Chapron and colleagues found that not only are all four species surviving in human-dominated landscapes, but their populations are generally stable or even increasing.

Move over Hugh …