The paper is very important in terms of understanding the interactions between reserves and farms and is based based on two years of jackal research from Oct 2011 – Oct 2013 in three conservation areas – Karoo National Park, Mountain Zebra National Park and Addo Elephant National Park. The research is the first time the response of jackals to lethal management has been quantified rigorously in SA, and it indicates that killing jackals is not effective without improving other management measures, notably fencing and hand-on management.
Journal of Applied Ecology 2015 - Paper by Liaan Minnie, Graham I. H. Kerley, both from the Department of Zoology, Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University as well as Angela Gaylard from the Scientific Services Division, South African National Parks. Click here for full report.
"New approach needed to outfox costly predators" - article by Heather Dugmore, which featured in the Business Day. Read here.
CLARITY ON PUBLICATION – JACKAL CAN PERSIST DESPITE CONTROL EFFORTS
April 2016 - Prof. Graham Kerley, Distinguished Professor (Zoology) & Director for the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at NMMU provided clarity on the publication “Compensatory life-history responses of a mesopredator may undermine carnivore management efforts” by Minnie, Gaylard and Kerley, which was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
An abstract from the publication states:
“The lethal management of predators is the prevailing strategy to reduce livestock predation. However, the highly adaptable nature of jackal and the combination of compensatory mechanisms such as increased reproduction and the potential for immigration allow these predators to persist in the face of severe anthropogenic mortality, possibly through the formation of a source-sink system”.
This statement in the publication was viewed by some producers and certain members of the PMF “as a way to blame farmers that they are responsible for the predation problem (especially jackal) on their farms.”
As Prof. Kerley explains:
- Despite the efforts of farmers to control jackal, jackal are able to persist on farms;
- This persistence may be due to the ability of jackals to increase reproduction and / or breed at a younger age and to disperse (move).
- Researchers also hypothesize that this persistence may in part be due to the movement of jackals from areas with higher population densities (sources) to areas where jackal are controlled and hence have low population densities (sinks).
Point (1) is not a new finding and is in fact the reason for the ongoing problem. Point (2) emerges from this study as a partial explanation for point (1). Point (3) is a testable hypothesis which arises from these findings, and which provides for a very useful, regional perspective of the issues around jackal management.
Based on the above, a more useful interpretation of the publication would be to recognise that there is now some biological / scientific evidence (as opposed to opinion) as to how jackal can persist despite control efforts. Furthermore, our hypothesis regarding the importance of the movement of jackal provides an important and testable extension of the required management focus beyond the traditional farm-specific management of jackal. So instead of being seen as blaming farmers for the problem, what this source-sink idea does is provide a rationale to bring farmers, reserve managers and other land use managers (e.g. game ranchers, forestry managers, etc.) together to develop a collective and regional approach to managing jackals.
Emerging from this publication is the idea that jackal management is a collective regional issue. This idea is not explicitly stated in this publication, as that would be beyond the scope of the publication.
It is therefore clear that our research findings have considerable relevance to the PMF and the broader communities represented therein. This also emphasises the need to provide more effective mechanisms of communicating science to the various stakeholders, as well as to decision makers. We remain committed to serving in this role, within our available capacity, in addition to producing the high quality science and expertise that is our primary role.