Amulike, Bridget B.
Project: Leopard and spotted hyena ecology and behavior in Botswana
Support: Elephants Without Borders
Project Abstract: Leopards and spotted hyenas are both iconic carnivore species known to and sought out by most visitors to Africa. Ecologically, they are sympatric over much of their range and often hunt for the same prey species. In addition, leopards hoist kills into trees to avoid theft by hyenas, and the species may kill each other’s cubs. This competition leads to behavioral adaptations to avoid conflict, especially where resources (e.g., prey, trees, safe dens) are scarce. In dramatically seasonal environments like the Okavango Delta, the habitats available to wildlife change significantly, further complicating the behavioral adaptations needed to co-exist and survive. In turn, these behaviors influence the degree to which visitors observe and understand the ecology and conservation of both species.
Neither the interactions of leopards and hyenas, the factors that affect their local distributions, movements, and interactions, nor visitor perceptions of the species and the research techniques used to study them are well documented. An intensive, multi-faceted research project on leopards and hyenas, using state of the art monitoring techniques, will allow for detailed assessment of population density and regulation, as well as the factors affecting their seasonal behaviors, distributions, and interactions. In addition, guest attitudes toward and perceptions of not only the carnivore species themselves (which often are divergent), but also of specific research techniques used to collect essential ecological data, can be assessed through experiential learning and formal and informal surveys.
Amulike, B., S. S. Stevens, and T. L. Serfass. 2013. Enhancing tourist opportunities to view spotted-necked otters (Lutra maculicollis) at Rubondo Island National Park: can the apriori location of latrines simplify identifying best viewing areas? African Journal of Ecology:51:609-617.
Stevens, S. S, B. Amulike, S. R. Ndaga, J. F. Organ, T, L. Serfass,. 2009. Raising support for Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania: considerations and approaches for an assessment of potential flagship species. Pages 471-486 in J. D. Keyyu, V. Kakengi, M. Musha, J. Ntalilwa, E. Kohi, J. Kimaro, and A. Mwakatobe, Editors. Proceedings of the Seventh TAWIRI Scientific Conference. Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Arusha, Tanzania.
Updated: February 26, 2014