Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Koedoe]]> vol. 56 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Conservation of fishes in the Elands River, Mpumalanga, South Africa: Past, present and future</b>]]> In an isolated reach, between two large natural waterfalls in the Elands River in Mpumalanga, populations of a critically endangered Kneria sp., the endangered Chiloglanis bifurcus and a genetically unique population of Labeobarbus polylepis occur. The aim of this article was to evaluate past efforts to conserve these fishes, describe the current status and propose future conservation and management actions. The population status assessments were based on a series of fish community composition and population structure evaluations from surveys undertaken at 22 sites during seven surveys from 2002 to 2006. Although water-use activities have continued to increase in the area, impacts have been offset by conservation efforts initiated almost 30 years ago. The existing C. bifurcus population appears to be stable, which is reflected in the downgrading of the conservation status of the species from critically endangered to endangered. The abundance of the kneriid population appears to be increasing and spreading to other tributaries in the study area. The abundance of L. polylepis appears to be increasing but has still not reached historical levels. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Continued conservation efforts are required to protect these fishes. This case study presented a rare example of how the impacts associated with the use of aquatic resources in South Africa can successfully be offset by conservation efforts. <![CDATA[<b>Herbivores shape woody plant communities in the Kruger National Park: Lessons from three long-term exclosures</b>]]> The role of grazers in determining vegetation community compositions and structuring plant communities is well recognised in grassy systems. The role of browsers in affecting savanna woody plant communities is less clear. We used three long-term exclosures in the Kruger National Park to determine the effect of browsers on species compositions and population structures of woody communities. Species assemblages, plant traits relating to browsing and soil nutrients were compared inside and outside of the exclosures. Our results showed that browsers directly impact plant species distributions, densities and population structures by actively selecting for species with traits which make them desirable to browsers. Species with high leaf nitrogen, low total phenolic content and low acid detergent lignin appeared to be favoured by herbivores and therefore tend to be rare outside of the exclosures. This study also suggested that browsers have important indirect effects on savanna functioning, as the reduction of woody cover can result in less litter of lower quality, which in turn can result in lower soil fertility. However, the magnitude of browser effects appeared to depend on inherent soil fertility and climate. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Browsers were shown to have significant impacts on plant communities. They have noticeable effects on local species diversity and population structure, as well as soil nutrients. These impacts are shown to be related to the underlying geology and climate. The effects of browsers on woody communities were shown to be greater in low rainfall, fertile areas compared to high rainfall, infertile soils <![CDATA[<b>The diet of brown hyaenas (<i>Hyaena brunnea</i>) in Shamwari Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> Brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were introduced to Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province during 2002, but their feeding ecology is poorly understood. Feeding observations of brown hyaena by field guides and the collection of 31 scats from the study area took place over an 11 month period. Standard techniques were used to analyse the scats and identify prey items present. Ten dietary categories were identified from the scats, with a mean of 3.2 dietary categories per scat. Large mammal remains were found in 30 of the 31 scats, with kudu being the most abundant (61.0% of scats). Overall the two methods indicated at least 14 mammal species being fed on by the brown hyaena. The presence of mainly large mammal remains and invertebrates (in 38.7% of all scats), together with the feeding observations of mainly large mammals by field guides, suggests that brown hyaena in Shamwari are mainly scavengers and that sufficient carrion is available, thereby reducing the need for them to hunt. A 52.0% occurrence of plant matter was found in the scats, suggesting that plant material is an important component of their diet. Further studies are underway to investigate the feeding ecology of brown hyaena in Shamwari and surrounding areas. CONSERVATION IMPLICATIONS: Comprehensive scat analysis over a number of years, monitoring of individual movement patterns and population numbers of brown hyaena in and around conservation areas will be beneficial in quantifying resource use of this species.