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24 September 2021 Ten Years on: Have Large Carnivore Reintroductions to the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Worked?
Natalia M. Banasiak, Matt W. Hayward, Graham I.H. Kerley
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Large (>15 kg) carnivores, namely lions (Panthera leo), leopards (Panthera pardus), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus), spotted (Crocuta crocuta) and brown hyaenas (Parahyaena brunnea), have been reintroduced to 16 private- and state-owned reserves in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Objectives behind these reintroductions ranged from ecotourism, ecological restoration, to species conservation. We reassessed the reintroductions' objectives and updated their outcomes a decade after the initial assessment. Ecotourism and ecological restoration were the most common objectives for the reintroduction of top predators to these reserves. With one exception, these reintroductions were successful in meeting their specific objectives, as only African wild dogs have failed to re-establish in the province. Assessments for leopards and brown hyaenas were inconclusive due to a lack of monitoring data. Causes of objective- and species-specific failures in some reserves included founding same-sex populations, lack of breeding events and changes in reserve management objectives. Long-term monitoring is essential in managing and assessing the success of conservation actions, including reintroductions of threatened species. Our review demonstrates this by highlighting changed outcomes for populations and identifying new challenges that have arisen in the landscape. In the modern parlance of conservation marketing, the multi-species reintroductions that occurred within the Eastern Cape represent successful rewilding within the province.

Natalia M. Banasiak, Matt W. Hayward, and Graham I.H. Kerley "Ten Years on: Have Large Carnivore Reintroductions to the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Worked?," African Journal of Wildlife Research 51(1), (24 September 2021).
Received: 26 April 2021; Accepted: 1 September 2021; Published: 24 September 2021
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