Monday, November 27, 2006

Presentation at HOORC: Kruger population dynamics

Professor Norman Owen-Smith, Professor in African Ecology and head of the Centre for African Ecology at the University of the Witswatersrand, visited HOORC today to present the results of a study, Changing Ungulate Populations in Kruger National Park. A decline in the population of roan antelope in the park after 1986 led to the study. Using animal count, population density and rainfall data as well as information from the diaries of park guides, the study team found that a combination of factors -- climate change, surface water and predation -- had led to the decline of the roan and other rare antelope species in the park. Park managers had responded to periods of severe drought by creating waterholes that attracted large herds of mobile animals such as zebra and wildebeeste to areas frequented by antelope. This, theorized the team, increased the number of lions, who then preyed on the adult antelope. In HOORC's Library, you can find Professor Owen-Smith's book, Adaptive herbivore ecology : from resources to populations in variable environments.

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