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Most neglected tropical diseases have their origins fromwildlife species. Emphases over the years on causal organisms have been on bacteria and viruses. However, with the emergence of zoonotic parasites, it is important to consider the wildlife reservoir and the spectrum of their zoonotic parasites. Human activities have increased contact with game, thus humans serve either as intermediate, reservoir or accidental host in the sylvatic cycle. The epidemiological information of these zoonotic wildlife parasites are scanty due to poor surveillance strategies in Africa, therefore prevalence studies are necessary to develop control measures and to conduct consequence assessments in cases of outbreaks. This review emphasizes the role that wildlife plays in spreading zoonotic parasites to other animals and humans and the consequences in Africa. It summarizes the present knowledge about the prevalence and spectrum of zoonotic parasites of wildlife and the human population at risk in Africa. It also gives insight into the dynamics of zoonotic parasites of wildlife. It will also increase our risk perception of zoonotic diseases and help to formulate effective control measures in Africa.
Understanding how vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) select resources provides information for effectively managing them and the environments they live in, which may reduce conflict with humans. This study investigates resource selection on woody plant species by two vervet monkey (vervet) troops living in human-modified mixed-broadleaf savanna in South Africa. Our findings indicate that one troop's home range was more diverse in terms of woody plant species than the other. No relationship between the frequency of occurrence of resource items in the diet and the availability of those items was found for either troop, suggesting that food selection is not based on availability. However, resource items were selected in proportion to their energy content, indicating that vervets are potentially energy maximizers (species that select resource items based on energy content). This was noticeable for the vervets living in the more diverse home range. Vervets in the less diverse home range displayed less clear preference for higher energy food items. Despite this disparity between the troops, our findings suggest that both troops used whatever resource items were available to them, and that it is important to maximize the tree diversity in vervet habitats to ensure population persistence and reduce conflict with humans.
Fencing is increasingly used in wildlife conservation. Keeping wildlife segregated from local communities, while permitting wildlife access to the greater landscape matrix is a complex task. We investigated the effectiveness of specially designed fence-gaps on animal movement at a Kenyan rhinoceros conservancy, using camera-traps over a four-year period. The fence-gap design restricted the movement of black (Diceris bicornis) and white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) but permitted the movement of other species. We documented over 6000 crossing events of over 50 000 individuals which used the fence-gaps to enter or leave the conservancy. We recorded 37 mammal species and two species of bird using the fence-gaps. We conclude that this fence-gap design is effective at restricting rhinoceros movement and at permitting other wildlife movement into and out of the conservancy. We recommend that fenced-in rhinoceros conservancies that desire enhanced connectivity consider this fence-gap design to help re-connect their reserves to the outside landscape matrix while continuing to provide enhanced protection for their rhinoceroses.
Studies on the effects of off-road driving on soils were conducted in the Makuleke Contractual Park of the Kruger National Park. The studies were conducted on three different soils with different textures and soil compactibilities. Traffic pressure was applied with a game drive vehicle loaded with 10 sand bags, each weighing 70 kg, plus the driver. This gave a total vehicle mass of 3795 kg, simulating a vehicle fully laden with tourists. The results of the study reported here included comparing of the effects of four different tyre pressures on the root area distribution below each tyre pressure. At all sites, root density fractions under the tracks were reduced significantly at all tyre pressures, compared with the control values. Results indicated that root penetration percentage and root area distribution were reduced drastically as tyre pressure increased. Our work reaffirms previous research showing that higher tyre pressures cause higher sub-soil compaction than lower tyre pressures. Thus, driving with lower tyre pressures when driving off-road should be considered when developing management strategies for off-road driving in wildlife protected areas.
We used stable carbon isotopes from faeces to investigate the proportional contribution of C3 and C4 plant forms to the diet of the herbivores in Mkambati Nature Reserve, a grassland dominated ecosystem on the east coast of South Africa. Our results indicate that Equus burchellii, Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi, and Alcelaphus buselaphus utilize mainly C4 grasses. Tragelaphus oryx, Potamochoerus larvatus, Tragelaphus scriptus and Antidorcas marsupialis utilized mainly C3 plant forms but Redunca arundinum utilized an approximately equal amount of C3 and C4 plants. The results indicated similar trends compared to the more arid savanna systems (i.e. Kruger National Park in South Africa and several national parks in Kenya) with a few notable differences in some species (i.e. red hartebeest, southern reedbuck, eland, bushbuck and bushpig).