Programme Manager & PhD Candidate, University of Pretoria
Location: Limpopo Province, South Africa
Research: Using livestock guarding dogs to minimize human-carnivore conflict and to secure habitat for Cheetah, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Brown Hyena and other carnivores in South Africa
Species/Topic: Cheetah, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Brown Hyena, Caracal, Serval, Black-backed Jackal
Abstract: Human-carnivore conflict is a leading world-wide threat to carnivores. In South African farmlands, conflict is rife and arises mainly from carnivore predation on livestock leading to retaliatory killing of predators. Predation can have a serious economic impact on people and agricultural production and rural development. However, indiscriminate lethal control poses a threat to South Africa's remaining carnivore populations, especially for the 32% that are threatened or near threatened. The purpose of this project is to inspire landowners to use more holistic and sustainable meat production methods and to live in harmony with large carnivores. One of the key methods is the use of livestock guarding dogs — a nonlethal control method. This project has been executed successfully since 2006. Over 140 livestock guarding dogs have been placed and 84% developed into effective adult working dogs. On average a reduction of 94% in stock losses is reported in guarded flocks and herds.