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RobC

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  • Content count

    28
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About RobC

  • Rank
    Member

Previous Fields

  • Category 1
    Researcher
  • Category 2
    Ecologist

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    South Africa
  • Interests
    Elephant ecology and human-wildlife conflict
  1. As an up-and-coming ecologist, I have always had a sense of adventure. My research has given me the privilege of visiting wilderness areas across South Africa, spending large portions of my MSc degree walking through the Greater Kruger National Park, encountering elephants, buffalo and white rhino on foot. Although I would like to think of myself as fairly competent when walking through a wilderness area, this was not always the case. Back in April 2011, as a young first year BSc student, I undertook my first trip on my own, visiting St Lucia in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Although the trip itself was incredible, a single event on my final day stole the headlines of my stay. Below is my diary entry from that day. http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/getting-lost-in-the-st-lucia-wilderness-20170503
  2. Recent update on my research in the Greater Kruger National Park: "In South Africa, Protected Areas managers and tourists alike are concerned that our expanding elephant population will negatively affect the number and structure of iconic tree species such as the Marula (Sclerocarya birrea). Elephants Alive were approached by South Africa National Parks (SANParks) in 2012 to discuss methods which could be used to keep elephants out of particular areas where certain landscape features such as tall trees needed to be preserved as part of the biodiversity objectives of SANParks..." Read more here: http://elephantsandbees.com/south-africa/
  3. Elephant movement patterns in relation to human inhabitants in and around the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Robin M. Cook, Michelle D. Henley, Francesca Parrini Full free download of article: http://www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/1298 Abstract The presence of humans and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park can create situations of potential human–elephant conflict. Such conflict will likely be exacerbated as elephant and human populations increase, unless mitigation measures are put in place. In this study we analysed the movement patterns of 13 collared adult African elephants from the northern Kruger National Park over a period of eight years (2006–2014). We compared the occurrence and displacement rates of elephant bulls and cows around villages in the Limpopo National Park and northern border of the Kruger National Park across seasons and at different times of the day. Elephants occurred close to villages more often in the dry season than in the wet season, with bulls occurring more frequently around villages than cows. Both the bulls and the cows preferred to use areas close to villages from early evening to midnight, with the bulls moving closer to villages than the cows. These results suggest that elephants, especially the bulls, are moving through the studied villages in Mozambique and Zimbabwe at night and that these movements are most common during the drier months when resources are known to be scarce. Conservation implications: Elephants from the Kruger National Park are moving in close proximity to villages within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Resettlement of villages within and around the park should therefore be planned away from elephant seasonal routes to minimise conflict between humans and elephants.
  4. ~ @@RobC This is a TERRIFIC post! Great information, with substantial relevant detail. Many, many thanks for your care and time in preparing this summary report for Safaritalk members and visitors. The research design is elegant. When my classes commence a few weeks later, this project will be mentioned and highlighted as a positive example of wildlife research which benefits the local environment. Thank you for posting this information, and for the delightful photographs! Tom K. Thanks so much Tom! I really appreciate the exposure!
  5. Elephants Alive has been a-buzz with activity as we have literally been as busy as bees. We had a very productive time making beehives for Robin’s MSc! In just two and a half days our inspired team made 79 beehives. Our only hold-up being a hiccup with the delivery of materials. We still have 40 to go but with our new skills, we are unstoppable. But bees and elephants....where is the link? Robin’s project will focus on using bees to deter elephants from impacting iconic Marula trees. His thesis will build on the wonderful work done by our colleague, Dr. Lucy King who used bees to protect crops from raiding elephants. We hope to protect individual Marula trees from elephant impact to ensure the aesthetics of certain landscape features, secure bees for the future, produce honey and in general to foster a peaceful co-existence between elephants and people. We will provide updates as the project develops and as beehives get hung in trees at the experimental site on Jejane Private Nature Reserve. Thank you to all who have sponsored a hive at $50 each. We will post pictures of your labelled hive as we go. Please use our website to donate via PayPal with the words ‘BEES’ if you wish to sponsor a hive (www.elephantsalive.org) or alternatively follow this link:http://www.gofundme.com/y7b2tc4 We would like to thank our bee expert, Johan Labuschagne for his design and wonderful guidance throughout the workshop. Gionni Gelletich is thanked for providing the ideal venue at Mica Village. Mica’s wonderful staff all lent a hand and we would like to thank Robert, Rector, Reggie, Mathieu and Given. Prince from Nourish was amazing and did everything in his stride and with the biggest smile. Winnie is thanked for helping with the catering. Michellene worked out all the meals. Lucia, our intern worked tirelessly wherever she was needed. BUCO is thanked for providing a good discount on the expensive materials. Woolworths is thanked for their support via their Wild About Elephants - Bags4Good campaign.
  6. ~ @@RobC Thank you so much for sharing this delightful Elephant Field Day report. Your description does so much to capture the spirit of the day. Really like the photograph of the elephants crossing the road. Your passion for your fieldwork comes through in both your commentary and the photographs. It's a privilege for us on Safaritalk to share in your field adventures. Tom K. Thanks so much Tom!
  7. We are heading into that time of the year where the daily temperatures are on the rise and the winds are picking up. The sounds of the bush are filled with the rustling of leaves and the return on familiar bird sounds. Spring is approaching! This week we were fortunate enough to find General and his compatriots. This bachelor herd of 10 bulls have been on the move recently and it was great to finally catch up with them! We also saw Classic and some younger bulls taking full advantage of a dam, drinking and splashing about in the water. And our day was beautifully ended off with a breeding herd crossing the road in front of us with the mountains in the background. It is always a privilege to spend some time with these gentle giants. www.elephantsalive.org
  8. Haha sorry @@wilddog I must have gotten distracted whilst writing that last post. Here it is: http://elephantsalive.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/aje121402.pdf
  9. Hi @@Tom Kellie and @@wilddog, yes these were ones that seem to have been blown down after the early August winds here. Here is a link to a scientific paper published on the previous work we have done from these surveys: So this field work is building on from that study!
  10. Hi everyone (@@pault @@Marks @@Sangeeta @@elefromoz @@Soukous @@Tom Kellie) , thanks for the comments! From what we saw in the field in Timbavati, a large portion of the vulture nests observed last year were still active. A few were remnants or abandoned but then we did find a couple cases where a new tree nearby a remnant tree had an active nest...so possibly the same vultures had moved across? Where we did find recently active nests on the floor it appears to be because of the heavy winds experienced here earlier this month. Between 2014 and 2015 none of the vulture trees had been pushed over by elephants.
  11. I have just gotten back from a fantastic 4 day trip to the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, bordering the Kruger National Park. I was there to monitor trees containing vulture nests and score the damage on the trees as a result of elephant impact. We had various encounters with elephants whilst on foot, and were lucky enough to see spotted hyena and side striped jackal as well.Being out in the field is always one of the perks of being a researcher here in Greater Kruger.
  12. "...In July 2015 the journal Science published Kerr et al’s Climate Change Impacts On Bumblebees Converge Across Continents.It was a woeful analysis hyped by the media. It did very little to further our understanding of the causes of bumblebee declines and more likely obscured the real problems. But it did illustrate why the public is becoming increasingly suspicious of “scientific claims” regards catastrophic climate change as well as demonstrating the inadequacy of the peer review process...." http://perhapsallnatural.blogspot.com/2015/07/plight-of-bumble-bees-how-shabby.html
  13. I am not aware of any research regarding elephant stress and off roading. There is a paper that shows the FGM levels of elephant back safari elephants slightly increase when with tourists in comparison to without tourists. But that's the only tourist-related paper I can think of.
  14. Thanks Pault. It's a great tool for conservation biology and seeing what could be stressing the animals.

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