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An assessment of diet overlap of two mesocarnivores in the North West Province, South Africa


van der Merwe, I and Tambling, CJ and Thorn, M and Scott, DM and Yarnell, RW and Green, M and Cameron, EZ and Bateman, PW, An assessment of diet overlap of two mesocarnivores in the North West Province, South Africa, African Zoology, 44, (2) pp. 288-291. ISSN 1562-7020 (2009) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2009, The Zoological Society of Southern Africa. All Rights Reserved.

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DOI: doi:10.3377/004.044.0217


We used scat analysis to study the diet of two sympatric medium-sized carnivores: brown hyaena and black-backed jackal, in the North West Province of South Africa. Seven major dietary categories were identified from the scats, with mammal remains being most common for both species. Brown hyaena scats contained more large mammal remains, which together with the presence of invertebrates (in 50% of all brown hyaena scats), suggests that they mainly scavenged. Jackal scats contained a higher proportion of small mammal remains, suggesting that jackals actively hunted more often than brown hyaenas did. The diets differed significantly between the two species, even though diet overlap was fairly high (0.79). Further analysis, albeit based on small sample sizes, suggests that diet of these mesopredators differ between protected reserves with apex predators and unprotected areas without apex predators, thus confounding generalizations. Further studies are therefore required to investigate possible mesopredator release when apex predators are absent.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords: apex predators, carnivore diets, scat analysis, brown hyaena, black-backed jackal
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:67497
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-03-04
Last Modified:2015-02-26
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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