Large Carnivore Field Project- Dr. Laurence Frank
In further efforts to learn about and protect large carnivore species including lions and hyenas, seen in our new Edge of Africa animal attraction, Busch Gardens is supporting a field research project being conducted in the Laikipia region of Kenya. Supervised by Dr. Laurence Frank, Ph.D., of the University of California Berkeley, the studys objective is to analyze large carnivore ecology in two distinct environments: in areas of intensive traditional livestock herding by native farmers and on private ranches where livestock is commercially raised using more innovative approaches.
Funding provided by Busch Gardens is being allocated toward a revolutionary satellite telemetry system involving the use of collars worn by the carnivores and tracked via satellite transmission. This state-of-the-art tracking technique provides researchers with data on movement patterns more quickly, and practical methods of analyzing variables such as social interaction, predatory habits and population shifts.
A secondary phase of the study will include assisting herders and ranchers of the Laikipia region in developing new techniques of protecting livestock herds and husbandry, thereby reducing the hunting of large predatory carnivores. Despite their powerful characteristics within the structure of an ecosystem, large carnivores are quite vulnerable since their prevalence around livestock often exposes them to hunting. Large carnivores are also essential in the development of ecotourism programs because of their popularity among humans, and their presence contributes to the health of their ecosystems by affecting vegetation patterns and ensuring the order of the food chain.
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