Quality and quantity of the scientific information available on black-backed jackals and caracals : contributing to human-predator conflict management?
Tuesday, 1st September 2015
Du Plessis J.J., Avenant N.L., De Waal H.O.
African Journal of Wildlife Research : A Special Issue dedicated to carnivores. Vol 45(2). September 2015
Black-backed jackals, Canis mesomelas, and caracals, Caracal caracal, are meso-carnivores impacting the livestock and game farming (wildlife ranching) industries in southern Africa. Many efforts to manage the impact of these predators are unsuccessful and no meaningful, or effective, long-term management programme has been formulated over any large area (spanning more than a single farm or a group of neighbouring farms) throughout their southern African range.
This paper reports on the scientific information available on the ecology of black-backed jackals and caracals to evaluate the nature of current knowledge of these species in order to prioritize research for the development of meaningful human-predator conflict management (HPCM) strategies. From a HPCM perspective, it is evident that published field studies on black-backed jackals and caracals in southern Africa are limited in scope, spatially and temporally isolated, and generally old (appearing prior to 2005). Most studies were also mainly conducted in protected areas, with little information from farming areas. Significant ecological questions, relevant to HPCM are highlighted by our study. These questions include studying whether or not black-backed jackal and caracal territoriality persists under rangeland conditions?; Have the two predators 'learned' to predate on introduced livestock or wildlife?; Has reproductive behaviour changed under rangeland conditions?; and, Is compensatory breeding observed under rangeland conditions? Answers to these questions will undoubtedly contribute to the formulation of more effective HPCM strategies.