The Karoo Predator Project is a unique multi-disciplinary study of the social, economic and ecological drivers of human-wildlife conflict in the Karoo. It draws together farmers, researchers from the social and biological sciences and officials from the Department of Land Care. The objective is to understand the ecology and political-economy of predation and to explore ways of protecting biodiversity whilst ensuring sustainable livelihoods.
The biological research is being conducted by Marine Drouilly under the supervision of Prof Justin O’Riain (Biological Sciences), and Professors Nicoli Nattrass and Beatrice Conradie from the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR). Marine has conducted a camera trap survey of bio-diversity on farms and in the nearby reserve of Anysberg. She has also collected jackal and caracal scat and has been capturing and radio-collaring predators. We currently have five radio-collared caracals (Sunshine, Big Paw, Ginger, Lucky and Marina) and four jackals (LeRoy, Rain, Mr Fox and Roocky). LeRoy, to the great interest of farmers, travelled over 1,600 klms in four months!
Beatrice Conradie has been interviewing farmers to learn more about their operations and the problems posed by predation. She and Nicoli Nattrass have written papers about rival 'jackal narratives' concerning predator ecology and lethal control and have been analysed data on the relationship between culling predators and subsequent stock losses. Their preliminary findings suggest that killing caracals is probably counter-productive for farmers as it is associated with an increase in lambs lost the following year (but this is not true for jackals). Nattrass and Conradie have also shown that a farmer-managed public works program (to build jackal-proof fences in the area) was appropriately targeted on the poor.
Ginger the caracal being inspected by a vet (and the farming family on whose land she resides) before being released. She now has a GPS radio collar bearing reflective strips that will hopefully prevent farmers and professional hunters from killing her during night hunts.
Sheep with collars to protect against predation (the sheep in the background was previously injured by a jackal).
Marine Drouilly with predator scat and two farmers (Lukas Botes and Piet Gouws) who have been very supportive of the research.
A picture of a jackal taken by the camera trap study
Nattrass, N., Conradie, B., O’Riain, J., Drouilly, M. (2017a) A brief history of predators, sheep farmers and government in the Western Cape, South Africa. iCWild and CSSR working paper 398.
Conradie, B (2016). Bevindinge uit die Laingsburg bestuursopname van die Karoo Predasie Projek, Rondtes 1-3: ‘n Fokus op produktiwiteit. Pamphlet. cssr/ssu/projects/karoo
Conradie, B (2015). Laingsburg bestuursopname, rondtes 1 en 2: Produksie en winsgewendheid. Pamphlet. cssr/ssu/projects/karoo
Nattrass, N., Conradie, B., Conradie, I. (2014). The Koup fencing project: Community-led job creation in the Karoo. CSSR working paper 345 cssr/pub/wp/345.
Nattrass, N., Conradie, B. (2013). Jackal narratives and predator control in the Karoo. CSSR working paper 324, cssr/pub/wp/324.
Bailey, A., Conradie, B.I. (2013). The effect of predator culling on livestock losses: Caracal control in Cooper hunting club, 1976 – 1981. CSSR working paper 320, cssr/pub/wp/320.
Conradie, B.I., Piesse, J. (2013). The effect of predator culling on livestock losses: Ceres, South Africa, 1979 – 1987. CSSR working paper 319, cssr/pub/wp/319.
Conradie, B. (2010) Farmers’ views of landscape initiatives: The case of the Agulhas Plain, CFR (cssr/pub/wp/278)
Conradie, B. & Piese, J (2012) The Effect of Predator Culling on Livestock Losses: Ceres, South Africa, 1979 – 1987 (cssr/pub/wp/319)
Bailey, A. & Conradie, B. (2013) The Effect of Predator Culling on Livestock Losses: Caracal Control in Cooper Hunting Club, 1976 – 1981(cssr/pub/wp/320)
Nattrass, N. & Conradie, B. (2013) Jackal Narratives and Predator Control in the Karoo, South Africa (cssr/pub/wp/324)
Conradie, B. & Landman, A. (2013) A comparison of the performance under field conditions of woolled and mutton sheep flocks in a low rainfall region of South Africa (cssr/pub/wp/331)
Beatrice Conradie and Jenifer Piesse(2014) Productivity benchmarking of free-range sheep operations: Technical efficiency, correlates of productivity and dominant technology variants for Laingsburg, South Africa (cssr/pub/wp/344)
Nicoli Nattrass, Beatrice Conradie and Inge Conradie (2014)The Koup Fencing Project: Community-led Job Creation in the Karoo (cssr/pub/wp/345)
Conradie, B., Nattrass, N. (forthcoming Nov 2017). The robustness of self-report data on predation: A comparison of two Karoo surveys African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics
Conradie,B. I. (2016). The implications of a weak public extension service for the productivity performance of Karoo agriculture. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 44(2): 99-109.
Conradie, B.I., Piesse, J. (2016). Ranking perceived risk to farmers: How important is the environment? African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 11(4): 263-276.
Nattrass, N., Conradie, B. (2015). Jackal Narratives: The politics and science of predator control in the Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies 41(4): 753-771(Special edition: Science and Scandal)
Nattrass, N., Conradie, B., Conradie, I. (2015). The Koup fencing project: Community-led job creation in the Karoo. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 10(2): 131-145.
Conradie, B.I., Piesse, J. (2013). The effect of predator culling on livestock losses: Ceres, South Africa, 1979 – 1987. African Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics 8(4): 265-274
Conradie, B., Piesse, J., Thirtle, C., Vink, N. And Winter, K. (2013). Explaining declining total factor productivity in the Karoo districts of the Western Cape, 1952 to 2002 Agrekon 52(S1): 1-23.
Conradie, B.I. (2012) Are hunting clubs the solution to small stock depredation? The case of Ceres, 1979 and 1980 Agrekon 51(1):96 – 113.
Conradie, B., Treurnicht, M., Esler, K. and Gaertner, M. (2013) Determinants of participation in a landscape-scale conservation initiative on the Agulhas Plain, Cape Floristic Region. Biological Conservation 158:334 – 341.