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Marine Drouilly

Marine Drouilly

PhD candidate

Marine is a French conservation scientist with a passion for wildlife, science and the wilderness, be it in Africa or Alaska. She grew up between the green hills of Champagne and the capital city of France, Paris, where she first received a degree in languages and neurosciences at the University of Paris Diderot (Paris VII). She then graduated with an M.Sc. in Biodiversity-Ecology-Evolution, specializing in Conservation Biology at the University Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris VI) in 2009. Her thesis was conducted in France and Zimbabwe where she studied the ecophysiology of plains zebras and Przewalski horses. Since then, Marine has worked on various predator projects spread over 4 continents. She returned to University in 2013 to pursue her Ph.D. in wildlife conservation and behavioural ecology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Marine has a lifelong interest in conservation and wildlife ecology and is particularly interested in human-carnivore relationships. She sees conflict between animals and humans, as being the biggest challenge that wildlife conservationists will have to face in the 21st century. When she is not tracking animals or writing up her PhD, Marine loves trail running, rock and ice climbing and any outdoor adventure.

Main supervisor: Prof. Justin O’Riain

Co-supervisors: Prof. Nicoli Nattrass, Prof. Beatrice Conradie, Prof. Allan Clark

Thesis title: The Karoo Predator Project – Understanding the socio-ecological mechanisms behind farmer-predator conflict in the Karoo, South Africa

Project background:

Small-livestock farms provide an abundant source of anthropogenic food that has been selected through husbandry for high productivity and manageability. Together these factors have been shown to directly alter predator ecology and behaviour, as well as the presence and relative abundance of sympatric species. In the region of the Karoo, farmers have responded to the threat of livestock predation through sustained hunting programs and live trapping of predators. Despite these efforts, livestock losses and injuries are reported to remain high. Currently however, there is no data on the impacts of these management practices on biodiversity and the ecology and behaviour of black-backed jackals and caracals on farms. It is thus our proposal to conduct research that aims to investigate those aspects.

Project objectives:

  • Assessing species richness and comparing the distribution and relative abundance of wildlife and predators on farmlands versus a protected area (Anysberg Nature Reserve).
  • Evaluating the effects of livestock management and predator control on black-backed jackal and caracal spatial and feeding ecology on farmlands and in the reserve.
  • Comparing the diet of sympatric predators on farmlands and in the reserve.
  • Assessing the severity of the conflict and farmers’ knowledge and perception of wildlife and predators.

Methods:

  • Camera-trapping (two surveys on a 2km2 grid, 23 796 camera trapping nights achieved),
  • GPS-collaring of caracals and black-backed jackals (21 predators equipped with Iridium collars with a drop-off mechanism),
  • Scat analysis (more than 650 carnivore scats collected and analysed)
  • Face-to-face interviews with farmers (more than 80 interviews conducted in the Karoo)

Website: www.karoopredatorproject.wordpress.com

Selected article about the Project:

 http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/24/the-karoo-predator-project-mitigating-the-human-wildlife-conflict/