Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> vol. 59 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Using genetics to prioritise headwater stream fish populations of the Marico barb, <i>Enteromius motebensis</i> Steindachner 1894, for conservation action</b>]]> South Africa has a relatively large number of threatened freshwater fish species and limited resources to implement conservation programs. Enteromius motebensis was regionally prioritised for action because of its conservation status and flagship status in a nationally important aquatic ecosystem. Genetic diversity of E. motebensis in headwater refugia of the Groot Marico River Catchment was assessed to determine if genetic diversity is important for conservation planning for this species. The results of the genetic analysis indicate that some prioritisation was possible, with two populations showing evidence of recent isolation. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: We recommend that at least three populations be prioritised for conservation action to ensure maintenance of most of the remaining genetic diversity of the species. <![CDATA[<b>Tsetse flies should remain in protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal</b>]]> The proposal to eradicate tsetse flies from South Africa, including its protected areas, via the sequential aerosol technique combined with the sterile insect technique to reduce trypanosomiasis in cattle did not present an appropriate analysis of the impacts that implementation of the proposal would have on biodiversity. Not only would the implementation of the proposal be contrary to South African laws protecting and conserving biodiversity, but it would also have negative consequences for the conservation of biodiversity. Some of the negative consequences are reviewed, including extirpations and negative impacts on ecological and ecosystem processes and services. Alternative strategies to control trypanosomiasis in cattle effectively in a more environment-friendly manner are presently available and others will almost certainly become available in the not-too-distant future. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Environmental protection, promotion of conservation and sustainable use of the environment are all deeply seated in South Africa's law. Rural livestock husbandry considerations and biodiversity conservation are not mutually exclusive and the importance of one cannot supersede the other. The eradication proposal is seen to be environmentally damaging and therefore it is concluded that the purpose of this proposed eradication exercise is unconstitutional, contrary to various multilateral agreements South Africa has entered into and contrary to good environmental governance. <![CDATA[<b>Patch-occupancy survey of elephant (<i>Loxodonta africana</i>) surrounding Livingstone, Zambia</b>]]> Wild elephants represent the biggest human-wildlife conflict issue in Livingstone, Zambia. However, little is known about their movements. This survey investigated elephants' habitat use outside a core protected and fenced zone that forms part of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Using 'patch-occupancy' methodology, indications of elephant presence (feeding behaviour, dung and tracks) were surveyed. The survey aimed to assist proposed future monitoring exercises by defining the geographical extent that should be considered to improve accuracy in species abundance estimates. Results were supplemented using collected indications of elephant presence from prior monitoring exercises, and during this survey. Elephant presence was confirmed up to 8 km from the boundary of the protected core habitat, focussed in: (1) an unfenced zone of the national park, (2) along a road leading from the national park to the Dambwa Forest to the north and (3) along two rivers located to the west (Sinde River) and east (Maramba River) of the core area. Detection probability of elephant presence was high using these methods, and we recommend regular sampling to determine changes in habitat use by elephants, as humans continue to modify land-use patterns. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Identification of elephant ranging behaviour up to 8 km outside of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in southern Zambia will assist in managing human-elephant conflict in the area, as well as in assessing this seasonal population's abundance <![CDATA[<b>Elephants respond to resource trade-offs in an aseasonal system through daily and annual variability in resource selection</b>]]> Animals and humans regularly make trade-offs between competing objectives. In Addo Elephant National Park (AENP), elephants (Loxodonta africana) trade off selection of resources, while managers balance tourist desires with conservation of elephants and rare plants. Elephant resource selection has been examined in seasonal savannas, but is understudied in aseasonal systems like AENP. Understanding elephant selection may suggest ways to minimise management trade-offs. We evaluated how elephants select vegetation productivity, distance to water, slope and terrain ruggedness across time in AENP and used this information to suggest management strategies that balance the needs of tourists and biodiversity. Resource selection functions with time-interacted covariates were developed for female elephants, using three data sets of daily movement to capture circadian and annual patterns of resource use. Results were predicted in areas of AENP currently unavailable to elephants to explore potential effects of future elephant access. Elephants displayed dynamic resource selection at daily and annual scales to meet competing requirements for resources. In summer, selection patterns generally conformed to those seen in savannas, but these relationships became weaker or reversed in winter. At daily scales, resource selection in the morning differed from that of midday and afternoon, likely reflecting trade-offs between acquiring sufficient forage and water. Dynamic selection strategies exist even in an aseasonal system, with both daily and annual patterns. This reinforces the importance of considering changing resource availability and trade-offs in studies of animal selection. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Guiding tourism based on knowledge of elephant habitat selection may improve viewing success without requiring increased elephant numbers. If AENP managers expand elephant habitat to reduce density, our model predicts where elephant use may concentrate and where botanical reserves may be needed to protect rare plants from elephant impacts <![CDATA[<b>Protected area entrance fees in Tanzania: The search for competitiveness and value for money</b>]]> User fees charged by Tanzania's Game Reserves (GR) and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have not changed since 2008. Although previous research has been done on visitors' willingness-to-pay to enter national parks in Tanzania, none has been conducted on GRs and WMAs. This article assesses the entrance fees in GRs and WMAs, by comparing them with equivalent fees charged in Tanzania (at national parks and the Ngorongoro Crater) and also with regional protected areas in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Based on 28 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholder institutions working on tourism and conservation and more than 50 online survey responses from Tanzanian tourism operators, the research reviews local opinion and issues relating to adjusting current entrance fees. The article considers that while one objective for generating revenue from entrance fees is for conservation management, it is difficult to establish appropriate fees where there are gaps in knowledge about existing levels of visitation, tourism revenue and associated management costs. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: This article has implications for protected area management practices, as it provides information on processes by which managers can review and revise entrance fee values <![CDATA[<b>Demographics of <i>Eucalyptus grandis</i> and implications for invasion</b>]]> Alien invasive species can have negative impacts on the functioning of ecosystems. Plantation species such as pines have become serious invaders in many parts of the world, but eucalypts have not been nearly as successful invaders. This is surprising considering that in their native habitat they dominate almost all vegetation types. Available theory on the qualities that characterise invasive species was used to assess the invasive potential of Eucalyptus grandis - a common plantation species globally. To determine rates of establishment of E. grandis outside plantations, we compared population demographics and reproductive traits at two locations in Mpumalanga, South Africa: one at higher elevation with more frost. Eucalyptus grandis has a short generation time. We found no evidence that establishment of E. grandis was limiting its spread into native grassland vegetation, but it does appear that recruitment is limited by frost and fire over much of its range in Mpumalanga. Populations at both study locations displayed characteristics of good recruitment. Size class distributions showed definite bottlenecks to recruitment which were more severe when exposed to frost at higher elevations. Generally, the rate of spread is low suggesting that the populations are on the establishing populations' invasion stage. This research gives no indication that there are any factors that would prevent eucalyptus from becoming invasive in the future, and the projected increase in winter temperatures should be a cause for concern as frost is currently probably slowing recruitment of E. grandis across much of its planted range. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Eucalyptus plantations occur within indigenous grasslands that are of high conservation value. Frost and fire can slow recruitment where they occur, but there are no obvious factors that would prevent E. grandis from becoming invasive in the future, and monitoring of its rates of spread is recommended <![CDATA[<b>Down, but not out: Recent decline of Berg-Breede River whitefish (<i>Barbus andrewi</i>) in the upper Hex River, South Africa</b>]]> The Berg-Breede River whitefish, Barbus andrewi, an endangered Cape Floristic Region endemic, was once widespread in both the Berg and Breede River catchments. However, its distribution has been strongly reduced, apparently by human-related activities, over the last century, and the Hex River now contains one of the last recruiting populations within its native range. This population was last surveyed by Christie who found that the species occurred in six pools over a 9-km stretch of the upper Hex River. We re-surveyed fish populations at Christie's sites in 2015 to evaluate differences in the fish community between 2002 and 2015. Our data indicated that the distribution of B. andrewi in the Hex River has declined from six to four pools and that its density in the study area in 2015 (0.57 fish per 100 m² ± 0.31 fish per 100 m²) was more than fivefold lower than that recorded in 2002 (3.39 fish per 100 m² ± 1.40 fish per 100 m²). Moreover, small size classes of B. andrewi (< 10 cm) were largely absent in 2015, indicating recruitment failure in recent years. Habitat degradation, exacerbated by a severe flood in 2008, and recent invasions by predatory non-native fishes (smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu and sharptooth catfish, Clarias gariepinus) are identified as likely causes of this decline. Cape kurper, Sandelia capensis, another native species, was relatively common in 2002 but not recorded in 2015, whereas the density of native Breede River redfin, Pseudobarbus burchelli, was higher in 2015 than in 2002. Urgent conservation actions including managing non-native fish invasions and mitigating agricultural impacts on aquatic habitat are required to prevent further decline, and possible extirpation, of the Hex River population of B. andrewi. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Urgent conservation actions including preventing further increases in the abundance and distribution of non-native fishes, and improving habitat and water quality through mitigating agricultural impacts, are required to prevent further decline, and possible extirpation, of the Hex River population of B. andrewi <![CDATA[<b>First record of the invasive Australian redclaw crayfish <i>Cherax quadricarinatus</i> (von Martens, 1868) in the Crocodile River, Kruger National Park, South Africa</b>]]> The redclaw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (von Martens, 1868), a robust freshwater crayfish native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, has now been recorded from the Kruger National Park (KNP). Previously absent from the Crocodile River, SAN Parks received a report in February 2016 of redclaw crayfish below the Van Graan Dam on the border of the KNP. Here, we provide evidence of the presence of redclaw crayfish in the Crocodile River. A better understanding of the redclaw crayfish distribution, habitat preferences, rate of spread and impacts on the local aquatic ecosystems in the Crocodile River is urgently required to develop mitigation strategies that minimise the spread of this invasive crayfish in the KNP and the Komati Catchment. The negative impacts of global crayfish introductions justify efforts to discourage further introductions and prevent their secondary spread. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: A better understanding of the redclaw crayfish distribution, habitat preferences, rate of spread and impacts on the local aquatic ecosystems in the Crocodile River is urgently required to develop mitigation strategies that minimise the spread of this invasive crayfish in the Kruger National Park and the Komati Catchment