To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Folate and choline are methyl donor nutrients that may play a role in fetal brain development. Animal studies have reported that prenatal folate and choline supplementation are associated with better cognitive outcomes in offspring and that these nutrients may interact and affect brain development. Human studies that have investigated associations between maternal prenatal folate or choline levels and neurodevelopmental outcomes have reported contradictory findings and no human studies have examined the potential interactive effect of folate and choline on children’s neurodevelopment. During the second trimester of pregnancy, maternal red blood cell folate was measured from blood samples and choline intake was estimated using a 24-h dietary recall in 309 women in the APrON cohort. At 3–5 years of age, their children’s neurodevelopment was assessed using the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence – Fourth EditionCND, NEPSY-II language and memory subtests, four behavioral executive function tasks, and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children – Second Edition. Adjusted regressions revealed no associations between maternal folate and choline levels during pregnancy and most of the child outcomes. On the Dimensional Change Card Sort, an executive function task, there was an interaction effect; at high levels of choline intake (i.e., 1 SD above the mean; 223.03 mg/day), higher maternal folate status was associated with decreased odds of receiving a passing score (β = −0.44; 95%CI −0.81, −0.06). In conclusion, maternal folate status and choline intake during the second trimester of pregnancy were not associated with children’s intelligence, language, memory, or motor outcomes at 3–4 years of age; however, their interaction may have an influence children’s executive functions.
Conservation scientists are increasingly recognizing the need to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to improve human–wildlife coexistence across different contexts. Here we assessed the long-term efficacy of the Long Shields Community Guardians programme in Zimbabwe. This community-based programme seeks to protect livestock and prevent depredation by lions Panthera leo through non-lethal means, with the ultimate aim of promoting human–lion coexistence. Using a quasi-experimental approach, we measured temporal trends in livestock depredation by lions and the prevalence of retaliatory killing of lions by farmers and wildlife managers. Farmers that were part of the Long Shields programme experienced a significant reduction in livestock loss to lions, and the annual number of lions subject to retaliatory killing by farmers dropped by 41% since the start of the programme in 2013, compared to 2008–2012, before the programme was initiated. Our findings demonstrate the Long Shields programme can be a potential model for limiting livestock depredation by lions. More broadly, our study demonstrates the effectiveness of community-based interventions to engage community members, improve livestock protection and ameliorate levels of retaliatory killing, thereby reducing human–lion conflict.
Negative interactions with humans resulting from livestock predation is a major factor influencing the decline of African lion Panthera leo populations across Africa. Here we investigate lion depredation within two Maasai communities in southern Kenya where people and lions coexist in the absence of any formal protected areas. We explore the factors that increase the frequency and severity of lion attacks on pastoralists and their livestock and assess the effectiveness of livestock guarding to reduce damage. Finally, we examine in which circumstances lion depredation triggers retaliation by people. Over a period of 26 months, lions attacked livestock 29 times, resulting in 41 livestock deaths and 19 injuries. There were also two attacks on people. Lions preferred cattle over the more numerous sheep and goats. Attacks on livestock occurred mostly during the dry season and were not affected by changes in prey density or variation in pastoral settlement that brought livestock into closer proximity with lions. Livestock were guarded during 48.2% of lion attacks. Active guarding at pasture disrupted the majority of lion attacks, resulting in lower mortality rates. Passive guarding in corrals at night also disrupted attacks but did not lead to lower livestock mortality.
We use comparable 2005 and 2018 population data to assess threats driving the decline of lion Panthera leo populations, and review information on threats structured by problem tree and root cause analysis. We define 11 threats and rank their severity and prevalence. Two threats emerged as affecting both the number of lion populations and numbers within them: livestock depredation leading to retaliatory killing of lions, and bushmeat poaching leading to prey depletion. Our data do not allow determination of whether any specific threat drives declines faster than others. Of 20 local extirpations, most were associated with armed conflicts as a driver of proximate threats. We discuss the prevalence and severity of proximate threats and their drivers, to identify priorities for more effective conservation of lions, other carnivores and their prey.
Passive acoustic monitoring is rapidly gaining recognition as a practical, affordable and robust tool for measuring gun hunting levels within protected areas, and consequently for its potential to evaluate anti-poaching patrols’ effectiveness based on outcome (i.e., change in hunting pressure) rather than effort (e.g., kilometres patrolled) or output (e.g., arrests). However, there has been no report to date of a protected area successfully using an acoustic grid to explore baseline levels of gun hunting activity, adapting its patrols in response to the evidence extracted from the acoustic data and then evaluating the effectiveness of the new patrol strategy. We report here such a case in Cameroon’s Korup National Park, where anti-poaching patrol effort was markedly increased in the 2015–2016 Christmas/New Year holiday season to curb the annual peak in gunshots recorded by a 12-sensor acoustic grid in the same period during the previous 2 years. Despite a three- to five-fold increase in patrol days, distance and area covered, the desired outcome – lower gun hunting activity – was not achieved under the new patrol scheme. The findings emphasize the need for adaptive wildlife law enforcement and how passive acoustic monitoring can help attain this goal, and they warn about the risks of using effort-based metrics of anti-poaching strategies as a surrogate for desired outcomes. We propose ways of increasing protected areas’ capacity to adopt acoustic grids as a law enforcement monitoring tool.
Large carnivores have extensive spatial requirements, with ranges that often span geopolitical borders. Consequently, management of transboundary populations is subject to several political jurisdictions, often with heterogeneity in conservation challenges. In continental Asia there are four threatened leopard subspecies with transboundary populations spanning 23 countries: the Persian Panthera pardus saxicolor, Indochinese P. pardus delacouri, Arabian P. pardus nimr and Amur P. pardus orientalis leopards. We reviewed the status of these subspecies and examined the challenges to, and opportunities for, their conservation. The Amur and Indochinese leopards have the majority (58–100%) of their remaining range in borderlands, and the Persian and Arabian leopards have 23–26% of their remaining ranges in borderlands. Overall, in 18 of 23 countries the majority of the remaining leopard range is in borderlands, and thus in most countries conservation of these subspecies is dependent on transboundary collaboration. However, we found only two transboundary initiatives for Asian leopards. Overall, we highlighted three key transboundary landscapes in regions that are of high importance for the survival of these subspecies. Recent listing of the leopard in the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals is important, but more international collaboration is needed to conserve these subspecies. We provide a spatial framework with which range countries and international agencies could establish transboundary cooperation for conserving threatened leopards in Asia.
Most species of wild felids are threatened, but for many little is known about their status in the wild. For the cryptic and elusive Vulnerable Sunda clouded leopard Neofelis diardi, key metrics such as abundance and occupancy have been challenging to obtain. We conducted an intensive survey for this species on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. We deployed camera traps across four study areas that varied in elevation and threats, for a total of 28,404 trap nights, resulting in 114 independent clouded leopard photographs, in which we identified 18 individuals. Using a Bayesian spatially explicit capture–recapture analysis, we estimated clouded leopard density to be 0.8–2.4 individuals/100 km2. The highest predicted occurrence of people was at lower altitudes and closer to the forest edge, where we categorized more than two-thirds of people recorded by camera traps as bird poachers, 12.5% each as ungulate/tiger poachers and non-timber collectors, and < 2% as fishers. Our findings provide important insights into the status of this little known species in Sumatra. We recommend that the large volume of camera-trap data from other Sumatran landscapes be used for an island-wide assessment of the clouded leopard population, to provide up-to-date and reliable information for guiding future conservation planning.
Coexistence of people and large carnivores depends on a complex combination of factors that vary geographically. Both the number and range of the Asiatic lion Panthera leo leo in the Greater Gir landscape, India, has increased since the 1990s. The challenge has been managing the success of conservation, with a particular focus on the spillover population ranging extensively in human-dominated landscapes. To understand the factors conducive to lion survival in this landscape, we undertook an interview-based survey. Overall, people expressed positive, tolerant attitudes towards lions. There was a distinct contrast between people's liking for lions (76.9% of respondents) compared to leopards (27.7%) in spite of greater depredation of livestock by lions (82.6%) than by leopards (17.4%). Younger people and respondents having greater awareness regarding lions expressed positive attitudes. Although community discussions on lions had a positive effect, there was no evidence that land-holding, management interventions, personal encounters with lions, or association of lions with religion affected attitudes. Respondents who had experienced livestock depredation tended to express negative attitudes. Respondents with positive attitudes towards lions favoured non-interventionist strategies for managing lions in the village areas. We advocate consideration of varied factors influencing tolerance of wildlife in conservation planning. We emphasize that site-specific human–wildlife conflict issues such as crop-foraging by wild ungulates and variation in attitudes towards different species should also be considered. Specifically, improved livestock management, motivation of local youth and their participation in awareness campaigns could all further strengthen the prevalent positive attitudes towards lions.
Dramatic population declines threaten the Endangered Indochinese tiger Panthera tigris corbetti with extinction. Thailand now plays a critical role in its conservation, as there are few known breeding populations in other range countries. Thailand's Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex is recognized as an important tiger recovery site, but it remains poorly studied. Here, we present results from the first camera-trap study focused on tigers and implemented across all protected areas in this landscape. Our goal was to assess tiger and prey populations across the five protected areas of this forest complex, reviewing discernible patterns in rates of detection. We conducted camera-trap surveys opportunistically during 2008–2017. We recorded 1,726 detections of tigers in 79,909 camera-trap nights. Among these were at least 16 adults and six cubs/juveniles from four breeding females. Detection rates of both tigers and potential prey species varied considerably between protected areas over the study period. Our findings suggest heterogeneity in tiger distribution across this relatively continuous landscape, potentially influenced by distribution of key prey species. This study indicates that the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex is one of the few remaining breeding locations of the Indochinese tiger. Despite limitations posed by our study design, our findings have catalysed increased research and conservation interest in this globally important population at a critical time for tiger conservation in South-east Asia.
Freshwater habitats in China are potentially suitable for invasive alien turtle species and, consequently, raising turtles in aquaculture facilities and the trade in turtles this supplies pose risks to habitats and native wetland communities when exotic turtles escape or are released deliberately. Online trade (e-commerce) is making an increasing contribution to turtle sales in China, seemingly driving demand and thus potentially exacerbating the risk of release. We document the scale and spatial pattern of online sales of non-native turtles over 90 days on China's Taobao.com e-commerce site. The majority of sales were in the ecologically sensitive middle and lower Yangtze river basin (82.35% of > 840,000 slider turtles Trachemys scripta elegans, and 68.26% of > 100,000 snapping turtles, Chelydridae spp.). These species are native to the Americas. Concurrently, over 2008–2018, we found 104 mentions of feral turtle issues listed on Baidu News where, among the 53 prefectures mentioned, issues with invasive turtle populations also focused predominantly in the middle and lower Yangtze river basin. Although circumstantial, this association suggests that the substantial online sale of alien turtles could be having detrimental effects in China's Yangtze river basin. It is important to safeguard these wetland habitats, which are of global importance, by improving policies for detecting and regulating invasive alien turtle issues and by warning consumers about the ecological hazard of their purchases.
Despite the efforts invested in their conservation, the status of many threatened carnivores in key conservation landscapes remains unknown. The dhole Cuon alpinus is an Endangered social carnivore whose geographical range has contracted by c. 80% since the early 20th century. North-east India is a critical link between South Asian and South-east Asian dhole populations. In this study we compiled presence records of dholes across north-east India, from multiple sources. We also conducted camera-trap surveys in one part of this region, Dampa Tiger Reserve in the state of Mizoram. We examined the influence of ecological and management factors on fine-scale site-use by dholes in Dampa Tiger Reserve, showing a positive association of dhole site-use with sambar Rusa unicolor encounters, distance to the forest boundary and presence of forest department personnel, underscoring the importance of prey and protection. Our findings also highlight the need for targeted, multi-scale assessments of dhole ecology across other sites in north-east India.
Anthropogenic habitat alteration and invasive species are threatening carnivores globally. Understanding the impact of these factors is critical for creating localized, effective conservation programmes. Madagascar's Eupleridae have been described as the least studied and most threatened group of carnivores. We investigated the effects of habitat degradation and the presence of people and exotic species on the modelled occupancy of the endemic fosa Cryptoprocta ferox, conducting camera-trap surveys in two western deciduous forests, Ankarafantsika National Park and Andranomena Special Reserve. Our results indicated no clear patterns between habitat degradation and fosa occupancy but a strong negative association between cats Felis sp. and fosas. Cat occupancy was negatively associated with birds and positively associated with contiguous forest and narrow trails. In contrast, dog Canis lupus familiaris occupancy was best predicted by wide trails, degraded forest and exotic civets. Our results suggest fosas are capable of traversing degraded landscapes and, in the short term, are resilient to contiguous forest disturbance. However, high occupancy of cats and dogs in the landscape leads to resource competition through prey exploitation and interference, increasing the risk of transmission of potentially fatal diseases. Management strategies for exotic carnivores should be considered, to reduce the widespread predation of endemic species and the transmission of disease.
Conservation planning, with its emphasis on nature reserves, provides a basis for the development of spatial plans, usually at regional scale, that explicitly state objectives and then provide options for achieving them, despite limited financial resources. Conservation planning, however, is still an imperfect science that places more importance on ecological considerations than on social ones. Complementing social considerations with an integrated understanding of the ecology of a region, and obtaining enough social data in a cost-effective manner, are recurrent challenges. Here, we address the potential of systematic planning to improve human–wildlife interactions. Mapping risks and opportunities with behavioural, social and economic data, e.g., would greatly facilitate management decisions. While data collection through conventional field methods is a constraint at large spatial scales, the huge and fast-growing amount of social data in the 'big data' space remains largely unexplored. We describe new, promising approaches for big data visualization and analysis that could be used to inform wildlife managers through easy-to-interpret, data-intensive approaches.
The movement of African ungulates between habitats is determined by diverse factors including forage composition, availability and quality, water availability, topography, the catenary level and the effect of fire on vegetation. We assessed how grass flushes, following dry-season fires, and availability of water influenced seasonal movements of hartebeest, impala, warthog, white rhino, wildebeest and zebra in Ithala Game Reserve, a fenced reserve in South Africa. Over a 6-d period each month for 4 y, road transects covering a representative sample of the reserve's different vegetation types, and 23% of the reserve's total area, were carried out. We recorded the species, number, sex and age class of herbivores, obtaining 8742 records (total herbivores sighted = 47055), and obtained positional data on sightings over the last 2 y of the study. Using a GIS-based approach, we determined that ruminant, but not non-ruminants, were significantly attracted to dry-season grass flushes, and that presence or absence of such flushes significantly affected their mean distance to water and hence seasonal movements on the catena.
The clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa is a potent ambassador species for conservation, occurring from the Himalayan foothills eastwards to Indochina, between which Myanmar is a biogeographical land bridge. In Myanmar's Northern Forest Complex, the species co-occurs with the tiger Panthera tigris, leopard Panthera pardus, marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata, golden cat Catopuma temminckii and leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis. We deployed cameras within the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary over 2 consecutive years. In 2014–2015 we deployed 82 camera stations around the Nam Pa Gon stream (Catchment 1) for 7,365 trap days. In 2015–2016 we deployed 80 camera stations around the Nam E Zu stream (Catchment 2) for 7,192 trap days. In Catchment 1 we identified five tigers from 26 detections, five clouded leopards from 41 detections (68 photographs) and 11 marbled cats from 13 detections. Using Bayesian-based spatial capture–recapture we estimated the densities of tigers and clouded leopards to be 0.81 ± SD 0.40 and 0.60 ± SD 0.24 individuals per 100 km2, respectively. In Catchment 2 we identified two tigers from three detections, nine clouded leopards from 55 detections and 12 marbled cats from 37 detections. Densities of clouded leopards and marbled cats were 3.05 ± SD 1.03 and 8.80 ± SD 2.06 individuals per 100 km2, respectively. These differences suggest that human activities, in particular gold mining, are affecting felid populations, and these are a paramount concern in Htamanthi. We demonstrate the importance of Htamanthi within the Northern Forest Complex and highlight the Yawbawmee corridor as a candidate for protection.
Extensive areas of tropical forests have been, and continue to be, disturbed as a result of selective timber extraction. Although such anthropogenic disturbance typically results in the loss of biodiversity, many species persist, and their conservation in production landscapes could be enhanced by a greater understanding of how biodiversity responds to forest management practices. We conducted intensive camera-trap surveys of eight protected forest areas in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, and developed estimates of Sunda clouded leopard Neofelis diardi population density from spatially explicit capture–recapture analyses of detection data to investigate how the species’ abundance varies across the landscape and in response to anthropogenic disturbance. Estimates of population density from six forest areas were 1.39–3.10 individuals per 100 km2. Our study provides the first evidence that the population density of the Sunda clouded leopard is negatively affected by hunting pressure and forest fragmentation, and that among selectively logged forests, time since logging is positively associated with abundance. We argue that these negative anthropogenic impacts could be mitigated with improved logging practices, such as reducing the access of poachers by effective gating and destruction of road access points, and by the deployment of anti-poaching patrols. By calculating a weighted mean population density estimate from estimates developed here and from the literature, and by extrapolating this value to an estimate of current available habitat, we estimate there are 754 (95% posterior interval 325–1,337) Sunda clouded leopards in Sabah.
We provide insights into pack composition and den site parameters of the Himalayan wolf Canis (lupus) himalayensis based on observations of free-ranging wolves in three study areas in Nepal. We combine this with a social survey of the local Buddhist communities regarding human–carnivore conflict, to draw inferences for conservation practice in the Nepalese Himalayas. We recorded eight wolf packs (with an average composition of two adults and three pups), and found five home sites in high-altitude shrubland patches within alpine grasslands at 4,270–4,940 m altitude. There was a spatial–temporal overlap of wolf home sites and livestock herding during spring and summer, which facilitated human–wolf conflict. The litters of three out of five wolf packs found in Dolpa during 2016 were killed by local people in the same year. In Nepal compensation is offered for depredation by snow leopards Panthera uncia, with associated lowering of negative attitudes, but not for depredation by wolves. We recommend the implementation of financial and educational conservation schemes for all conflict-causing carnivores across the Himalayan regions of Nepal.