Take a Survey Dining Room 05 Nov 2019 Oral Presentations | Moderated Discussion
Parallel C - Dining Room 11:00 - 13:00

Species in peril – depends on who you talk to and where you are Take a Survey
11:00 - 11:15

Lions have undergone a reduction of approximately 43% in the last 21 years. On a continental scale, elephants have declined at 8% per annum, and giraffe populations have declined approximately 36 – 40% over three generations. Even though all African range states are in agreement on the ultimate goal, the current debate on how to achieve this, especially when it comes to high-value charismatic species, is extremely polarised, particularly when discussing the inclusion of consumptive use as a conservation tool. In addition, population trends on a regional level for these species are very different. Across the continent, different wildlife management models, and combinations thereof, are used to conserve and manage charismatic species. However, in complex socio-ecological systems, it is imperative that people are at the forefront, and that species, especially those that have a direct impact on people and their livelihoods, have a tangible contribution to human wellbeing. In this presentation, we will explore the different management models used across the continent, the benefits and risks of the various models, and how these models have evolved over time. We evaluate how these models have contributed to species conservation by looking at percentage area under protection, species trends, as well as the resilience of the system to social and ecological changes. Despite the fact that differences in conservation philosophy and management are always highlighted, there are more commonalities than differences between the various approaches across the continent. For conservation to be successful across the continent, a unified African goal is required, in which differences in philosophy and management are recognised and accepted, and that the more diverse and adaptive our management strategies are, and the more our efforts are focussed on positive human outcomes, the more likely we are to achieve positive conservation outcomes across the continent.

The current status of the polyphagous shot hole borer outbreak in South Africa’s native forests Take a Survey
11:15 - 11:30

The impact of the polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) and its Fusarium fungal symbiont on forest ecosystems in South Africa is alarming. The beetle-fungus combination was first detected killing London plane trees in the KwaZulu-Natal province in early 2017. Since then infestations have been observed on more than 80 species of trees in seven of the nine provinces. These include commercial pecan orchards in the Northern Cape, and many common street and garden tree species in urban areas in six of the provinces. Most concerning are native trees that are infested and dying in urban and natural forests. The impact of all other serious tree pests that South Africa had to deal with in the past, was restricted to the agriculture and forestry sectors. Now, for the first time the country has to deal with a pest that ignores all boundaries, including those between climatic regions, or host tree genera, or orchards, commercial plantations, natural forests, streets, parks, and gardens. Current frameworks in government and other institutions for monitoring, reporting, impact assessment, research, control measures, management strategies, funding, and legislation, are not adequate to deal with the PSHB invasion. A coordinated, national strategy and network is needed to combat the PSHB, or else valuable resources and time will be wasted while the pest is destroying our trees and expanding its territory. Attempts are being made from within and outside government structures to align the different strategies with the needs and agendas of stakeholders.

The influence of lion (Panthera leo) and cheetah (Aciononyx jubatus) distribution and prey preference on wild dog (Lycaon pictus) dynamics at the Manyoni Private Game Reserve, South Africa Take a Survey
11:30 - 11:45

Conservation strategies for the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) are based on creating metapopulations on small enclosed reserves in South Africa. With these reintroductions increasing, prey preferences, habitat selections, and interspecific competition must be considered by reserve managers to ensure the species' survival. In this study we investigated potential interspecific competition amongst three wild dogs, 20 lion, and 19 cheetah at the Manyoni Private Game Reserve (MPGR) in South Africa. The main goal was to examine the prey preference of each predator, and the distribution of both prey and predator species. Analysing observational and triangulated data from 2014 – 2018, both wild dog and cheetah killed more impala than any other prey species, suggesting a dietary overlap. Wild dog also showed preference for nyala (p < 0.001), and lion significantly killed more warthog (p < 0.001) than expected. Cheetah and lion distributions have a potential overlap in the centre of the reserve, and wild dog distributions occurred on the outskirts. Wild dogs were the only species to show a significant preference for the rocky hill habitat type (p = 0.03), suggesting they are being driven to that area to possibly avoid lion. Prey species significantly preferred riparian and thicket habitat types but no preference was shown for rocky hills. These results exhibit a prey preference overlap between wild dog and cheetah, and potential interspecific competition amongst the three predators on MPGR for both prey and habitat. Other studies show that wild dogs avoid lion territory, and have a dietary overlap with cheetah. To avoid dietary competition between cheetah and wild dog, management could introduce more smaller prey species to balance the consumption rate of specific prey. It is also recommended that MPGR monitors their lion population to avoid unnecessary population declines of subordinate predators.

Reviewing the distribution and conservation of South Africa's southern banded snake eagles Take a Survey
11:45 - 12:00

The KwaZulu-Natal north coast is home to many birds of prey, a large proportion of which have experienced shifts in their distributions in response to large scale habitat transformation linked to anthropogenic activities across the region. One of the most affected species is the southern banded snake eagle (Circaetus fasciolatus), a coastal forest specialist, which is listed regionally as critically endangered in South Africa with an estimated population of fewer than 50 individuals. BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) is working to understand how land cover transformation has impacted the distribution of these cryptic forest raptors and whether the species has adapted to the conversion of their natural coastal forests into a matrix of plantations, mines and human settlements with only pockets of natural forest remaining outside of the formally protected areas. Within the protected area network, an electrocution risk assessment has been conducted to determine the potential exposure of southern banded snake eagles to electrical transformers which they may perch on when hunting. BLSA has conducted surveys of the plantation matrices and protected areas to collect information in conjunction with citizen science records for the development of habitat suitability models and patch connectivity measurements between suitable sites for southern banded snake eagles. Threat mapping identified 21 high risk and 104 medium risk transformer boxes within the core distribution areas. This work will inform the development of conservation management guidelines in conjunction with industry stakeholders, communities and provincial nature conservation authorities, aimed at promoting the survival of southern banded snake eagles and other forest-dwelling raptors in the long-term. With the reduction in available habitat for this species in South Africa, we question whether there should be a push towards a global review of the species conservation status.

Blue swallow. A species in crisis? Take a Survey
12:00 - 12:15

Blue swallows (Hirundo atrocaerulea) are a vulnerable species internationally and evaluated as critically endangered in South Africa. This intra-African migratory species is threatened by destruction, degradation and fragmentation of grassland and wetland habitats on both breeding (southern Africa) and non-breeding (East Africa) grounds. The destruction and fragmentation of natural habitat have led to a rapid reduction of an already small population. In KwaZulu-Natal, this species has a narrow habitat preference for Moist Mistbelt Grasslands where it forages and nests. The extent of these grasslands has continued to decline through land-use change at a rate of approximately 6% annually. Achievement of the species conservation target would signal that there are adequate areas of appropriate grassland with suitable nesting and foraging habitat set aside, and where land-use is compatible with blue swallow nesting and foraging requirements. In addition to contributing to protected area expansion goals and supporting private and communal landholders to conserve and manage areas essential for threatened bird species conservation, the BirdLife SA-Conservation Outcomes partnership together with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is coordinating blue swallow monitoring and conservation in KwaZulu-Natal. This presentation discusses the monitoring results and trends in the blue swallow population status since the early 2000s. Blue swallow populations in KwaZulu-Natal have declined at an average of 3.3% annually since 2000 and are now estimated to be below 25 pairs. Our presentation covers possible reasons for the observed trends and outlines actions being taken to contribute to habitat conservation targets for this species in KwaZulu-Natal e.g. securing habitat through the KZN Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.

+ 2 more submissions (presentations). View All

Speakers
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
University of Pretoria
University of Sussex / Wildlife ACT
BirdLife South Africa
Conservation Outcomes NPC
+ 2 more speakers. View All
Moderators
University of Pretoria
Attendees
University of Pretoria
University of Pretoria
Independent
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Rhodes University / South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity
Department of Environmental Affairs
SiVEST Environmental Consulting
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Elephants Alive
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Stellenbosch University
Conservation Outcomes NPC
Presenter
Conservation Outcomes NPC
Conservation Outcomes NPC
Department of Environmental Affairs
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Scientific committee & Presenter
Department of Environmental Affairs
University of KwaZulu-Natal
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

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