Human and Carnivore Conflict.
The enduring conflict between humans and carnivores has been and remains until this day a complex issue, with its most common source one of extensive economical loss in the form of livestock depredation .The expansion of agricultural land-use due to greater food demand has brought wildlife and people into increased contact and conflict with one another over diminishing shared resources. Therefore the depredation of livestock, as well as the feeding ecology of carnivores responsible for this predation, has been studied in various areas of. Livestock depredation more often than not results in the persecution of predators by farmers in the form of eradication of perceived problem animals. This may be viewed as a contra-productive act, since Livestock predation in South Africa varies widely from region to region. (2003) Information has showed that predators often kill livestock in areas that contain adequate numbers of natural prey. Therefore, any livestock farming practice needs to take the necessary precautions to protect livestock from predator. Predator-prey dynamics can be affected upon directly and indirectly by the presence of cattle in the landscape and livestock depredation rates can also be influenced by local environmental conditions such as abundance of natural prey and rainfall.
Consequently we wish to fulfil the following objectives:
· Investigate the ecological and ethological relationships between potential predator as well as prey species in the Vaal Eden Area
· Determine the current standing of calf losses in the Vaal Eden Area
· Investigate the influence of cyclical events such as seasonal, meteorological as well as lunar variations on predators, prey species and calf depredation rates
· Determine the most important predator of livestock in the Vaal Eden area
· Determine possible conflicts in cohabitation between livestock and large predators