?Wildlife-friendly? fencing is not friendly to Kalahari ante | 105015
An International Journal

Agricultural and Biological Research

ISSN - 0970-1907
RNI # 24/103/2012-R1


‘Wildlife-friendly’ fencing is not friendly to Kalahari antelopes

Derek Keeping*, Horekwe (Karoha) Langwane and Njoxlau Kashe

Application of animal tracking in ecology is limited because academic specialists lack the experience and skills necessary for advanced track interpretation, now often confined to remote and marginalized communities. We applied advanced indigenous tracking skills in Botswana to examine the efficacy of a 'wildlife-friendly' livestock fence along a highway corridor. Certified Master Trackers reconstructed narratives of past wildlife interactions with the fence along its continuous length. Tracking data indicate that the 'wildlife-friendly' fence disrupts large antelope movements. Species and age classes showed differential ability to negotiate the fence: It appears permeable to kudu and large carnivores, a minor filter for hartebeest although especially problematic for their young, a major filter for gemsbok, and a nearly impermeable barrier for wildebeest. Although well-intentioned, we found the 'wildlife-friendly' fence fails to achieve its intended dual purpose of facilitating wildlife movement and restricting livestock. We argue that it should be deactivated to allow unrestricted wildlife mobility particularly important for survival of free-ranging Kalahari antelopes. Application of advanced tracking skills allowed us insights into antelope behavior in relation to a fence that would be difficult to gain by other means. Indigenous Master Trackers' applied talents can be valuable to both pre and post disturbance impact assessments of roads, railways, and fences upon wildlife in Botswana. S6t3Bh9Gwo

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