Francesca Parrini

Francesca Parrini
University of the Witwatersrand | wits · School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

PhD

About

46
Publications
14,973
Reads
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548
Citations
Citations since 2016
26 Research Items
384 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022020406080
2016201720182019202020212022020406080
2016201720182019202020212022020406080
2016201720182019202020212022020406080
Additional affiliations
February 2010 - present
University of the Witwatersrand
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (46)
Article
Full-text available
Reintroductions have been increasingly used in carnivore conservation. Animal movement influences fitness and survival and is the first behavioural response of reintroduced animals to ‘forced dispersal’ in a new habitat. However, information available on early post-release movement of reintroduced carnivores remains limited. We studied movements of...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding of animal spatial behavior is essential for informed management decisions. In southern Africa, reintroduction of lions (Panthera leo) to small reserves (<1000 km2) has increased in recent years but studies on their ranging behavior in these enclosed systems remain lacking. We applied Time Local Convex Hull (T-LoCoH) methods to study t...
Article
Concerns exist over the continual decline of marula trees (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra), a large ecologically and economically important tree species in southern Africa, primarily as a consequence of impact by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and poor regeneration. We assessed changes to marula tree population structure in a protected ar...
Article
In response to food scarcity, animals may increase foraging time or shift their diet by including more profitable prey items. Aardvarks (Orycteropus afer) in the semi-arid Kalahari region of southern Africa died, apparently of starvation, because they did not shift their diet when their primary food resource declined following a drought. Whether ot...
Article
Geographic gradients in plant productivity can present foraging large herbivores with varying resource levels across the range of a population, to which individuals can demonstrate varying intensity of selection. To investigate individually-specific responses of nyala antelopes (Tragelaphus angasii) to vegetation greenness, we monitored the landsca...
Article
en Temminck's pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) is a threatened mammal found in southern and eastern Africa. It is the most widely distributed African pangolin species yet is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to a projected population decline of 30%–40% within the next three generations. This species' secretive, predominantly nocturnal beha...
Article
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Competition with livestock over forage resources has been identified as a potential threat to the survival of the African wild ass (Equus africanus) in the Danakil ecosystem (Eritrea). The Messir Plateau is an important breeding area for the African wild ass but also hosts cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and camels. Locations and fecal samples of Af...
Article
Prey increase vigilance to maximize predator detection, but this comes at the expense of foraging depending on the vigilance type: (1) intense vigilance, when all feeding processes are ceased, and (2) routine vigilance, when animals continue chewing (i.e. lower foraging cost). Few studies have distinguished between vigilance types when examining th...
Article
Full-text available
Southern Africa is expected to experience increased frequency and intensity of droughts through climate change, which will adversely affect mammalian herbivores. Using bio-loggers, we tested the expectation that wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), a grazer with high water-dependence, would be more sensitive to drought conditions than the arid-adapt...
Article
The critically endangered African wild ass (Equus africanus) occurs in the Danakil Desert of Eritrea and Ethiopia. Drinking behaviour and the costs of accessing water are critical to understanding how this threatened equid survives in an arid environment. Drinking data and distance travelled to water of 24 females and five males were recorded for 8...
Article
Full-text available
The coexistence of a large herbivore community depends on the degree of overlap in the resource used by the different species composing it. We investigated the role of grass greenness, height, biomass and feeding patch status on feeding patch selection by ruminant black and blue wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou, Connochaetes taurinus), red hartebeest...
Article
Across southern Africa, many populations of the highly-mobile common eland (Tragelaphus oryx) are limited to small, fenced protected areas. We studied such a population at Kgaswane Mountain Reserve (KMR), South Africa, using radio-collared animals to better understand eland range use in a landscape with restricted movement. Placement of home ranges...
Article
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This Commentary is a response to a Commentary published in the May/June 2020 issue: Nattrass N. Why are black South African students less likely to consider studying biological sciences? S Afr J Sci. 2020;116(5/6), Art. #7864, 2 pages. https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2020/7864 Responses to the Commentary in the May/June 2020 issue have been publish...
Article
Full-text available
In fenced protected areas with limited opportunities to disperse, resources and constraints vary in space and time, affecting herbivore behaviour. The distribution, availability and quality of resources, burnt areas, and potential inter-specific competition all play a role in sustaining populations of large sympatric African herbivores. We investig...
Article
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Large mammals respond to seasonal changes in temperature and precipitation by behavioural and physiological flexibility. These responses are likely to differ between species with differing water dependencies. We used biologgers to contrast the seasonal differences in activity patterns, microclimate selection, distance to potential water source and...
Article
Management of protected areas requires an understanding of the long-term population trends of large mammal species that may influence ecosystem functioning. Common eland (Tragelaphus oryx) are the most abundant large mammal species in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Aerial and ground surveys have been conducted over the years tomonitor the common...
Article
en Large‐scale environmental changes create challenges for conservation of wildlife, particularly in fenced, insular protected areas where many wildlife populations persist. Moreover, large mammalian herbivores inhabiting spatially and temporally heterogeneous environments face the challenge of securing highly variable forage resources. Mixed feede...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, the African wild ass (Equus africanus) is at risk of extinction in the wild. Major threats to its survival are hunting, competition with livestock, and interbreeding with the domestic donkey. An important but rare population exists on the Messir Plateau in the Danakil ecosystem of Eritrea. Long-term data on reproduction and survival rate...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging site selection by large herbivores is influenced by multiple factors varying across landscapes and spatial scales. Termite mounds harbour highly nutritious plants compared with the savanna matrix, making them preferred foraging patches in many savannas. However, it is unknown whether termite mounds equally influence herbivore grazing inten...
Article
Full-text available
Optimal resource selection is crucial for maximising fitness and survival. Animals introduced to a new area need time to explore the environment, which could result in a time lag before optimal selection occurs. Furthermore, intra-specific interactions (particularly in territorial species) also play a role in shaping resource selection patterns, wi...
Article
Full-text available
Termite mounds perform important roles in savanna ecosystems, generating heterogeneity and influencing ecosystem processes across multiple trophic levels. However, the influence the environment and neighboring termite colonies have on mound spatial patterning and structure is poorly understood, despite the profound implications such dynamics can ha...
Article
Conservation managers are concerned about the impact that African elephants (Loxodonta africana) have on large tree species, necessitating the need for mitigation methods. Elephants actively avoid contact with African honeybees (Apis mellifera subsp. scutellata), staying clear of crop fields surrounded by beehive fence-lines and moving away from th...
Article
Termites are recognised soil ecosystem engineers in the tropics and sub-tropics, making the understanding of their distribution a priority. However, there is a poor understanding of how differences in soil properties and plant biomass productivity affect termite species diversity. We compared the diversity of termites between two soils of differing...
Article
Termite mounds are well known to host a suite of unique plants compared with the surrounding savanna matrix. However, most studies testing the significance of mounds for ecosystem heterogeneity have been conducted at single sites. Mound effects on savanna heterogeneity across varying landscapes are less well understood, and how effects might vary a...
Article
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Similar to declines in antelope species across African conservation areas, sable (Hippotragus niger) at Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, South Africa, has exhibited a negative trend in abundance since 2000. To investigate the cause of decline, we assessed three hypotheses: seasonal forage abundance, habitat conditions and interspecific competition. We co...
Article
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The presence of humans and African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park can create situations of potential human–elephant conflict. Such conflict will likely be exacerbated as elephant and human populations increase, unless mitigation measures are put in place. In this study we analysed the movement patterns of 13...
Conference Paper
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The establishment of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park has enabled wildlife to move between Southern Africa’s Kruger, Limpopo and Gonarezhou National Parks with a consequent increase in the region’s human-wildlife conflict levels and in particular, human-elephant conflict. We monitored the movement patterns of seventeen collared African elepha...
Article
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Continued persistence of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) will likely depend on the cooperation of many reserves and the application of metapopulation models to manage across reserves. The suitability of any reserve, however, depends on factors that promote and constrain occupancy. Constraining factors, particularly human disturbance, are of con...
Article
The resource-use patterns and nutritional status of sable antelope herds were investigated in the Okavango Delta region of northern Botswana for comparison with those documented for declining sable antelope populations elsewhere in southern Africa. GPS collars recorded the relative use of floodplain, upland and wooded grassland habitats by the sabl...
Article
Abstract Animals selectively utilize their environments within a hierarchical framework. Our study addressed how the home ranges of sable antelope selectively incorporated the landscape and habitat types available to them. It was conducted in a region of northern Botswana where the sable population was expected to be thriving, in contrast to their...
Article
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Preserving biodiversity has become vital in a time of rapid environmental changes since biodiversity loss compromises ecosystem functioning and subsequently services on which human welfare depends. Biodiversity encompasses taxonomic, process and structure heterogeneity and its evaluation requires an integrative approach. Additionally, different tax...
Article
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1. Network analysis, a branch of discrete mathematics that quantifies the structure of links between a set of nodes, is emerging as a powerful methodology to approach complex ecological interactions. 2. There has been a rapidly increasing body of research targeting the topological description of trophic interactions. Here we categorize studies app...
Article
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The geographic distribution of a species is governed by climatic conditions, topography, resources and habitat structure determining the fundamental niche, while the local distribution expressed via home range occupation may be compressed by biotic interactions with competitors and predators, restricting the realised niche. Biotic influences could...
Article
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Foraging behaviour and habitat selection occur as hierarchical processes. Understanding the factors that govern foraging and habitat selection thus requires investigation of those processes over the scales at which they occur. We investigated patterns of habitat use by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) in relation to vegetation greenness to in...
Article
Full-text available
The spatial behaviour of female Alpine ibex Capra ibex ibex L. 1758, was analysed in Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy). Data were collected on 14 radiocollared females from September 2000 to August 2002, using radio-tracking and direct observations. Seasonal spatial behaviour was influenced by environmental conditions, in particular climatic fact...
Article
Burning is commonly used in savannas to stimulate grass regrowth for grazing ungulates. We recorded the relative use of burns occurring at different stages in the seasonal cycle, as well as in different regions of the landscape by two herds of sable. We also recorded behavioural measures of foraging efficiency and faecal nutrient contents as an ind...
Article
Capra ibex Linnaeus, 1758, is a bovid commonly called the Alpine ibex that is sexually dimorphic. Body mass and scimitar-shaped horns are more than twice as large in males as in females. There are 8 extant species in the genus Capra. C. ibex is endemic to the Alpine Range of central Europe, was eliminated throughout its range except the Italian Alp...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we explore the spatio-temporal variation of vegetation greenness and the underlying causal processes in a southern African savanna region. From the AVHRR NDVI time series we derived the following phenological metrics for the period 1985-1999: start, length and end of wet season, NDVImax and seasonal ΣNDVI. We used a spatio-temporal cl...
Article
Full-text available
During a two year preliminary study, the spatial organization of a group of male Alpine ibexCapra ibex ibex Linnaeus, 1758 was examined in the Gran Paradiso National Park, Western Italian Alps, Italy. From December 1995 to January 1998 we measured annual, seasonal home range and home range during the rut, plus altitudinal migration of 13 radio-coll...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat use and selection of 14 Alpine ibex males were studied in the Gran Paradiso National Park. Alpine meadows were always overused and positively selected, because this habitat constituted an important food resource for the ibex. Even if rocks (30%) and stone ravines (22%) were the most frequented habitats in the study area, their use was lower...

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