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Snap shots from 11th Oppenheimer Research Conference

The Oppenheimer Research Conference creates a platform for researchers and practitioners in conservation sustainability to share their knowledge to increase its impact. Here are a few snap shots of presentations.

Peter James Apps: Repellents from natural chemical signals to reduce human-carnivore conflict

Kicking up a stink can save livestock. Dr Peter Apps argues in his paper that the use of chemical signals can alleviate human-predator conflict. He says that “conflict with humans over attacks on livestock is a threat to all large carnivore populations, and some meso-carnivores. Stopping predators from attacking livestock will alleviate the conflict, and repellents and artificially scent-marked home range boundaries are a promising new tool for that purpose.”

He says that in his research “screening tests show that single components and simple mixtures of components from predator odours repel various species of large and meso-carnivores that are pests of livestock. Controlled release of one component of leopard urine; 3-mercapto-3-methylbutanol reduces attacks on kraaled calves by 4.5 times.”

Apps runs Botswana Predator Conservation’s BioBoundary Project, which develops innovative tools to manage human-wildlife conflict. He has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria and his background is a combination of zoology and analytical chemistry, and he has had a correspondingly varied career.

In 2008, he joined the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust and moved to Maun in Botswana to set up a laboratory specifically to identify the active components of scent-marks from African wild dogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyaenas and small carnivores. The identified components will be used to produce artificial scent signals that will deter predators from leaving protected areas, and prevent them from attacking livestock. Apps has written 72 scientific publications, chapters for four books, 24 magazine articles, and five popular books on southern African wildlife.

Yves Vanderhaeghen

Additional News

Ampijoroa breeding centre for ploughshare tortoises
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Madagascar

There’s little as rare as a rere’s egg on Madagascar. So when Chris Ransom, the Director of Field Programmes at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, announces that they’ve had a few eggs hatch it’s huge news. “We got quite excited,” he says. “We haven’t managed to breed them at our Ampijoroa breeding facility since 2017, but this year we managed. That was a real achievement”.

Thato Mathoko tape marking trap placements
Young Voices – Thato Mathoko

OGRC funds researchers, including several young post-grad students who are in the process of making their mark. The Young Voices series gives short profiles of students and the work they are doing in the field.

Image credits

Wakefield cattle - Michelle Tedder.jpg