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Picture of the Day

Study finds potential benefits of wildlife-livestock coexistence in East Africa

A study of 3,588-square kilometers of privately owned land in central Kenya offers evidence that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals -- to the benefit of all. The study focused on Laikipia County in central Kenya. Laikipia County hosts 10 percent of Kenya's wildlife, but none of the country's national parks or preserves. Most people depend on livestock for income and almost 70 percent of the land is devoted to large-scale ranching or pastoralism. As human populations increase, so does the pressure to expand agricultural and pastoral areas into grasslands now dominated by wildlife. To determine the ecological and economic effects of raising livestock on territory also used by wildlife, the researchers surveyed tick abundance, vegetation and the dung of large herbivorous mammals on 23 Laikipia County properties in July and August, 2014 and 2015. The researchers found that the practice of regularly spraying cattle with acaricides, which kill ticks without directly endangering birds or other creatures that feed on ticks, dramatically reduced the number of ticks in the grazed areas. These findings suggest that certain management practices can enhance the viability of livestock operations, while also maximizing wildlife abundance and health on the same lands, the researchers said.

Visit Website | Image credit: Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer/University of Illinois