Landowners’ perspectives of black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) on farmlands in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Tuesday, 1st December 2015

Humphries, B.D., Hill, T.R., Downs, C.T.

African Journal of Ecology. Volume 53, Issue 4, December 2015

ABSTRACT:

Despite continued efforts to eradicate black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas), they are considered an abundant mesopredator on agricultural land across South Africa, resulting in ongoing human–wildlife conflict and concern for farmers and wildlife managers. We conducted a questionnaire survey and semi-formal interviews with farmers throughout KwaZulu-Natal, examining farmers’ livestock husbandry, land-use changes and perspectives towards jackals as a perceived threat to livestock.

Many (75%) respondents acknowledged expanding agricultural activities on their farmlands since the onset of their farming careers. However, the perception was that these changes placed little pressure on mesopredators as farmers reported frequent daily (25%) and weekly (31%) sightings of jackal, and regular predation on livestock (72%). Some landowners (31%) reported between one and five livestock losses annually and suggest that mitigation strategies to prevent livestock losses are in place. Farmers suggested the increasing intensity in agricultural practices provided a greater food source for jackals allowing them to thrive in expanding agricultural conditions and, in some circumstances, farmers admitted to possibly being a cause through poor disposal techniques for dead animals.

Feedback from farmers emphasized the importance of having collaboration between farmers to control jackal predation and reduce human–wildlife conflict.

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