Dr. Charles van Riper III

Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
and
USGS Research Scientist Emeritus  

Sonoran Desert Research Station
125 Biological Sciences East ~ University of Arizona ~Tucson, AZ 85721-125
(520) 626-7027 ~ (520) 670-5100 fax ~ (520) 491-0721 call


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Africa Study

Wildlife of Africa at Venetia Limpopo & Silkaatskop 
Including Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's Tribal Lands

Introduction  |  Methods of Study | Study Areas | Venetia Limpopo | Credits and Funding | Wildlife of Africa |
Predators | Classic African Animals | Small Antelope | Large Antelope | Small Mammals


Introduction

Over the past century, African wildlife has undergone tremendous change. From former migrating herds of millions, many species have been reduced almost to the point of extinction. This is particularly true in the southern portion of the continent where anthropogenic change has markedly altered the landscape. Subdivision of the landscape into farms with fences and subdivisions has fragmented the landscape, dividing available habitat into relatively smaller and smaller patches. Those wildlife species that have undergone the greatest change have been either the predators or the larger-sized and wider ranging species.


This study was initiated in 1996, with the main objective to examine existing habitat types across the southern African Continent. This was to be accomplished by utilizing land-sat data in a Geographic Information System (GIS) format. In each of the major habitat types, surveys are done on major wildlife (principally birds and mammals). This would then create a data base of information on relative abundance of birds and mammals associated with each habitat type.

Data collected from this study would allow a Wildlife Habitat Relationship (WHR) model to be produced. This model would provide land managers with a tool from which they could better assess wildlife changes that would be associated with proposed land management alterations. The model would provide information on species that would be lost and those that would be potentially gained through habitat manipulations and subsequent vegetation changes.

It was another objective of our study to compare areas that still had a full compliment of predators and prey, verses those where the apex of the food chain had been removed. Replicates were selected in an arc from Namibia and Botswana on the west, through the northern veld of South Africa, to Mozambique on the east. Areas with intact food chains were mainly national parks (e.g., Pilanesberg) and nature preserves (e.g., Venetia-Limpopo) while those areas with incomplete food chains were farms (e.g., De Dwaal farm) or natural areas (e.g., Chief Kgosi Mmusi Moses Maotoe's tribal lands at Silkaatskop).

 

 

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