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Every dog has its day: indigenous Tswana dogs are more practical livestock guardians in an arid African savanna compared with their expatriate cousinsLivestock guarding dogs (LGDs) have been used for centuries to reduce depredation on livestock and, more recently, to facilitate the conservation of threatened carnivores. Conservation organisations in southern Africa promote the use of Anatolian shepherds as LGDs. However, livestock farmers in Botswana use a variety of breeds for this purpose, including local landrace “Tswana” dogs. Our study sought to test the overall effectiveness of these local breeds as LGDs. Irrespective of breed, all LGDs reduced livestock losses, with 47.9% of farmers experiencing no losses after obtaining a guarding dog. Owners with more LGDs, and LGDs of a single sex, had greater reductions in livestock losses. Anatolian shepherds displayed more behavioural problems than other breeds in our study. The health of LGDs was reliant on them receiving a balanced diet, and owners with fewer dogs reported fewer health issues. Moreover, Tswana guarding dogs were cheaper to purchase and feed than their purebred counterparts. Our results show that local landrace dogs can be considered a cheaper and more practical alternative to purebred LGDs for reducing livestock losses and for mitigating human-wildlife conflict in Botswana.
Landscape-level changes to large mammal space use in response to a pastoralist incursionPastoralists and their livestock have long competed with wildlife over access to grazing on shared rangelands. In the dynamic 21st century however, the configuration and quality of these rangelands is changing rapidly. Climate change processes, human range expansion, and the fragmentation and degradation of rangeland habitat have increased competition between pastoralist livestock and wildlife. Interactions of this type are particularly apparent in East Africa, and perhaps most obvious in northern Kenya. In 2017, following months of intense drought, a pastoralist incursion of a protected area (Loisaba Conservancy) occurred in Laikipia County, Kenya. An estimated 40,000 livestock were herded onto the conservancy by armed pastoralists where the cattle were grazed for approximately three months. Using 53 camera trap sites across the 226 km2 conservancy, we quantified spatial patterns in site visitation rates (via spatially-explicit, temporally-dynamic Bayesian models) for seven species of large mammalian herbivores in the three-month period directly before, during, and after the incursion. We detected significant changes in space use of all large mammalian herbivores during the incursion. Furthermore, these patterns did not return to their pre-incursion state in the three-month period after the pastoralists and their livestock left the conservancy. Thus, in addition to reduced site vitiation rates for these large mammalian herbivores, we also detected considerable displacement in response to the livestock incursion. Our results illustrate that pastoralist incursions can cause large-scale disruptions of wildlife space use, supporting the notion that livestock can competitively exclude large mammalian herbivores from grazing access. We discuss the implications of this research for applied management decisions designed to alleviate competition among wildlife and pastoralist livestock for the benefit of wildlife conservation and pastoralist well-being.
Land use change and the future of biodiversityThis synthesis report is a meta-analysis of perspectives for biodiversity and ecosystems, with a strong focus on human impacts on the environment, and a work order to enable and manage the protection, survival and evolution of all species on Earth. The goal is to protect nature without any further species loss (Zero Extinction)....
Andean Bear Priority Conservation Units in Bolivia and Peru: Results of the Binational Workshop for the Conservation of the Andean Bear in Bolivia and Peru, November 8th & 9th 2008, held as part of the II International Symposium on the Andean Bear in Lima, Peru....Given the importance of the Andean bear for conservation efforts across the Tropical Andes and the lack of systematized information regarding distribution and ecology, an effort was made at the beginning of the millennium to gather and collectively analyze existing Andean bear data for the Northern Andes. Lead by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with institutional support from a number of other conservation NGO’s, particularly the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Ecociencia, this exercise encompassed the entire known northern range for the species in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, as well as the extreme northern portions of Peru (Rodríguez et al., 2003). A parallel analysis of these results were also published in an internationally recognized journal (Kattan et al., 2004), and the fIndings and recommendations have been widely cited (Garcia-Rangel, 2012) and incorporated into conservation planning efforts across the range covered by the analysis (Peralvo et al., 2005)....
Assessing potential impacts of solar power facilities on wildlife utilizing animal behavior researchUtility-scale solar power is a rapidly expanding renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands. Solar facilities have large footprints across previously undeveloped habitat, particularly the American Southwest. Despite the scale of this industry, research is scarce on how construction and operation of facilities affect wildlife. We conducted a research-prioritization process to identify key questions to better understand how wildlife is affected by solar facilities and how behavioral data can be used to mitigate negative impacts. Behavioral responses are often the most visible signs of detrimental effects, as behavioral shifts are usually an animal’s first response to environmental change. We asked professionals in the fields of ecology, conservation, and energy to identify important research questions, then held a workshop to reduce and clarify these questions. The priority research areas that emerged included animal perception of solar facilities, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions.