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Primate & Predator Project (Long-term)
Field Study in Africa
Web Site:
Location of Site: SOUTH AFRICA, Lajuma Research Centre, Soutpansberg Mountains

Director: Dr Russell Hill
Phone: +44 (0) 191 334 1601   E-Mail:
South Road, Durham DH1 3LE UNITED KINGDOM
Department: Department of Anthropology
Institution: Durham University

Sponsoring Institution(s): Durham University

Research Objectives: Our research is structured around two key themes:

(i) The behavioural ecology of predator-prey interactions focussing on diurnal primates and their predators as a model system: Predation is a key selective force driving animal evolution, although its effects are difficult to quantify. Recent evidence also suggests that to understand the impact of predation it is necessary to account for the pressure exerted by all of the major predators as well as the interactions of individual predator-prey combinations. Using a combination of observational and experimental methods we are examining the importance of predation on baboons, vervets monkey and samango monkeys, whilst simultaneously monitoring the bahaviour of their major predators (leopards and crowned eagles).

(ii) Evaluating the nature and extent of human-wildlife conflict within the Soutpansberg Mountains: An important facet of mammalian conservation is to understand how animals co-exist in human-dominated landscapes. Large carnivores can place significant costs on human populations by inflicting damage that threatens local livelihoods through livestock depredation, while crop damage by primates is also a significant issue, often causing farmers considerable economic loss and frustration, and undermining local conservation efforts. We are taking interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the dynamic nature of human-wildlife conflict in our study area.

Field Positions and Volunteers: We regularly have field positions for volunteers able to stay for more than 2 months. We also encourange applications from individuals wanting to study for a PhD or an MSc by Research through Durham University.

Species Studied: Cercopithecus mitis (blue monkey), Chlorocebus pygerythrus (vervet), Papio ursinus (chacma baboon)

Other Species at Site: Galago moholi (South African lesser bushbaby), Otolemur crassicaudatus (thick-tailed bushbaby)

Last Updated: 2011-05-02

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