Sarah M Durant

Sarah M Durant
Zoological Society of London | IoZ · Institute of Zoology

PhD University of Cambridge

About

136
Publications
67,461
Reads
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5,499
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Introduction
Conservation scientist with interests in carnivore conservation, human wildlife coexistence, biodiversity monitoring, conservation management, landscape conservation, connectivity and conservation policy
Additional affiliations
January 1997 - present
January 1991 - present
January 1991 - present
Zoological Society of London

Publications

Publications (136)
Article
Full-text available
Coexistence with large carnivores poses challenges to human well-being, livelihoods, development, resource management, and policy. Even where people and carnivores have historically coexisted, traditional patterns of behavior toward large carnivores may be disrupted by wider processes of economic, social, political, and climate change. Conservation...
Article
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Natural history documentary films can be a powerful tool for wildlife conservation, providing an accessible means to increase public knowledge of the natural world. There has been an increasing focus in documentary films on the threats to biodiversity in recent years that has positively aided conservation efforts. However, potential ethical and wel...
Article
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While the urban landscapes of the early Anthropocene may appear hostile to large carnivores, humans and leopards (Panthera pardus) are known to co-inhabit major urban centres like Mumbai (India), Nairobi (Kenya) and Johannesburg (South Africa). We provide evidence that the presence of leopards in urban landscapes is not, however, a new phenomenon a...
Article
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Rewilding can be defined as the reorganisation or regeneration of wildness in an ecologically degraded landscape with minimal ongoing intervention. While proposals for rewilding are increasingly common, they are frequently controversial and divisive amongst stakeholders. If implemented, rewilding initiatives may alter the social-ecological systems...
Article
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Wildlife fences are often considered an important tool in conservation. Fences are used in attempts to prevent human–wildlife conflict and reduce poaching, despite known negative impacts on landscape connectivity and animal movement patterns. Such impacts are likely to be particularly important for wide-ranging species, such as the African wild dog...
Article
Climate change and land use change often interact, altering biodiversity in unexpected ways. Research into climate change-land use change (CC-LUC) interactions has so far focused on quantifying biodiversity outcomes, rather than identifying the underlying ecological mechanisms, making it difficult to predict interactions and design appropriate cons...
Article
The substitution of wild herbivores by livestock has led to substantial degradation of many southern African grazing systems. As a result, bush and shrub encroachment has led to a reduction of grasslands, invasion of thorn shrubs, reduced carrying capacity of range land, and desertification. These changes often raise socio-economic challenges for r...
Article
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Carrion represents an unpredictable and widely distributed primary food source for vultures and other avian scavengers. Avian scavengers in African savanna ecosystems are reported to rely exclusively on visual stimuli to locate carcasses. However, carnivores’ predation of large mammalian herbivores and subsequent competition for access to the carca...
Article
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Up-to-date land cover maps are important for biodiversity monitoring as they are central to habitat and ecosystem distribution assessments. Satellite remote sensing is a key technology for generating these maps. Until recently, land cover mapping has been limited to static approaches, which have primarily led to the production of either global maps...
Article
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Background Habitat loss is a key threat to the survival of many species. Habitat selection studies provide key information for conservation initiatives by identifying important habitat and anthropogenic characteristics influencing the distribution of threatened species in changing landscapes. However, assumptions about the homogeneity of individual...
Article
Effective conservation management is underpinned by science. Yet, there are often barriers against the incorporation of up-to-date scientific research into decision-making and policy. Here, we draw on experience from a multi-nation approach to conserve cheetah and African wild dogs across Africa, using relationships between scientists and managers...
Book
Cambridge Core - Natural Resource Management, Agriculture, Horticulture and forestry - Rewilding - edited by Nathalie Pettorelli
Poster
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The removal of cheetahs for the illegal pet trade is posing a significant threat to vulnerable cheetah populations in East Africa. Unfortunately official data on seizures does not reflect the magnitude of this trade. This poster offers some data on seizures as well as undetected trade, suggesting the importance of unofficial records to stress the i...
Article
Effective management of threatened wildlife, particularly large carnivores, depends on a sound understanding of their spatial distribution and status in relationship to environmental or anthropogenic impacts. Here, we analyse data from spoor surveys to investigate occurrence across a multiple-use landscape in the Tarangire–Simanjiro ecosystem in no...
Article
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While handling large kills, mesocarnivores are particularly vulnerable to kleptoparasitism and predation from larger predators. We used 35 years of observational data on cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) hunts in Serengeti National Park to investigate whether cheetahs’ prey handling behavior varied in response to threats from lions (Panthera leo) and spot...
Article
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Rewilding, here defined as “the reorganisation of biota and ecosystem processes to set an identified social–ecological system on a preferred trajectory, leading to the self-sustaining provision of ecosystem services with minimal ongoing management,” is increasingly considered as an environmental management option, with potential for enhancing both...
Article
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Hunting with wire snares is rife within many tropical forest systems, and constitutes one of the severest threats to a wide range of vertebrate taxa. As for all threats, reliable monitoring of snaring levels is critical for assessing the relative effectiveness of management interventions. However, snares pose a particular challenge in terms of trac...
Article
Hunting with snares is indiscriminate and wasteful, and this practice is currently one of the gravest threats to terrestrial vertebrates in the tropics. However, as snares are difficult to detect and often dispersed widely across large, inaccessible areas it is problematic to reliably estimate their prevalence and no standard survey methods exist....
Chapter
The global cheetah population is estimated at approximately 7100 individuals, now confined to 9% of its historical distributional range. Most cheetahs (76%) persist within two transboundary populations in southern and eastern Africa. The species is subject to multiple threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, persecution, loss of prey, and...
Article
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Human-carnivore conflict (HCC) is an increasingly important issue in Tanzania, especially where humans live adjacent to protected areas (PAs). We conducted semi-structured interviews (n = 300) to compile information on livestock husbandry practices and evaluate perceptions about the effectiveness of these methods in the Tarangire-Simanjiro ecosyste...
Article
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Increasing conflicts and social insecurity are expected to accelerate biodiversity decline and escalate illegal wildlife killing. Sahara‐Sahel megafauna has experienced recent continuous decline due to unsustainable hunting pressure. Here, we provide the best available data on distribution and population trends of threatened, large vertebrates, to...
Article
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Livestock depredation by large carnivores is the key source of human–carnivore conflict worldwide and entails financial losses to livestock keepers. We examined the extent and patterns of livestock depredation, the financial impacts of livestock losses and determinants of livestock depredation by large carnivores in the Tarangire ecosystem of north...
Article
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Transboundary cooperation is being promoted as an effective way to conserve biodiversity that straddles national borders. However, monitoring the ecological outcomes of these large-scale endeavours is challenging, and as a result, the factors and processes likely to shape their effectiveness remain poorly identified and understood. To address this...
Article
We conducted 300 semi-structured interviews with local people adjacent to Tarangire National Park, northern Tanzania, to determine their attitudes and perceptions toward large carnivores. We analyzed the relationships between attitudes and age, gender, education, occupation, years at residence, income, distance from protected area, livestock owned,...
Article
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Rapid global large carnivore declines make evaluations of remaining populations critical. Yet landscape-scale evaluations of presence, abundance and distribution are difficult, as many species are wide-ranging, occur only at low densities and are elusive. Insufficient information-gathering tools for many large carnivore species compounds these chal...
Article
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Establishing and maintaining protected areas (PAs) are key tools for biodiversity conservation. However, this approach is insufficient for many species, particularly those that are wide-ranging and sparse. The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus exemplifies such a species and faces extreme challenges to its survival. Here, we show that the global population i...
Article
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In our recent perspective article, we noted that most (approximately 0 percent) terrestrial large carnivore and large herbivore species are now threatened with extinction, and we offered a 13-point declaration designed to promote and guide actions to save these iconic mammalian megafauna (Ripple et al. 2016). Some may worry that a focus on saving m...
Article
Establishing and maintaining protected areas (PAs) are key tools for biodiversity conservation. However, this approach is insufficient for many species, particularly those that are wide-ranging and sparse. The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus exemplifies such a species and faces extreme challenges to its survival. Here, we show that the global population i...
Article
Full-text available
From the late Pleistocene to the Holocene and now the so-called Anthropocene, humans have been driving an ongoing series of species declines and extinctions (Dirzo et al. 2014). Large-bodied mammals are typically at a higher risk of extinction than smaller ones (Cardillo et al. 2005). However, in some circumstances, terrestrial megafauna population...
Chapter
This chapter highlights challenges facing conservation of the most threatened antelopes by focusing on the situation in the Sahara desert and the bordering Sahelian grasslands. Sahelo-Saharan ungulates are uniquely adapted, physiologically, morphologically, and behaviourally, to deal with the ecology and climate of the region. The chapter provides...
Article
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The leopard’s (Panthera pardus) broad geographic range, remarkable adaptability, and secretive nature have contributed to a misconception that this species might not be severely threatened across its range. We find that not only are several subspecies and regional populations critically endangered but also the overall range loss is greater than the...
Article
At the end of 2007, a workshop was held to develop a Regional Conservation Strategy RCS for cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and African wild dog Lycaon pictus in southern Africa (IUCN/SSC 2007). The strategy was to form a framework for the development of conservation action plans for cheetah and wild dog in all range states. The regional workshop was cond...
Chapter
Predator–prey interactions are central to our understanding of adaptive evolution and community ecology. A growing body of research indicates that predation risk and prey selection can be highly variable from one individual to another; nonetheless, individual variability both within predators and within prey is still classically ignored when attemp...
Article
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Historical knowledge and recent surveys attest that lions are declining across parts of Africa (1, 2). We applaud Bauer et al. (3) for assembling available counts because they motivate better monitoring and conservation support. Their own data, however, rejects their claims that lions are “declining everywhere, except in four southern countries” an...
Article
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1. In dryland ecosystems, mobility is essential for both wildlife and people to access unpredictable and spatially heterogeneous resources, particularly in the face of climate change. Fences can prevent connectivity vital for this mobility. 2. There are recent calls for large-scale barrier fencing interventions to address human–wildlife conflict an...
Chapter
Carnivores in the Serengeti are abundant and diverse; there are at least 30 species of carnivores in the greater Serengeti ecosystem, ranging in average body size from 0.35 kg (common dwarf mongoose, Helogale parvula) to 170 kg (male lion, Panthera leo) (Schaller 1972; Waser et al. 1995; Mduma and Hopcraft 2008; Durant, Craft et al. 2010). In the g...
Article
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Deserts are particularly vulnerable to human impacts and have already suffered a substantial loss of biodiversity. In harsh and variable desert environments, large herbivores typically occur at low densities, and their large carnivore predators occur at even lower densities. The continued survival of large carnivores is key to healthy functioning d...
Article
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Population viability is driven by individual survival, which in turn depends on individuals balancing energy budgets. As carnivores may function close to maximum sustained power outputs, decreased food availability or increased activity may render some populations energetically vulnerable. Prey theft may compromise energetic budgets of mesopredator...
Article
Resolving human-wildlife conflict is a conservation priority, but effective mitigation requires in-depth understanding of the complexity and relative importance of conflict drivers. We conducted 262 semi-structured interviews with villagers around Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park. The surveys provided data on respondents’ perceived problems with wild...
Article
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The conclusion of Pfeifer et al. —that wildlife fencing should be context-dependent—echoes our own call for fencing decisions to be based on realistic assessments of the costs and benefits. We did not, as Pfeifer et al. suggest, state that fencing impacts were invariably negative, nor did we
Article
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Habitat fragmentation undermines the functioning of ecosystems, and so biodiversity conservation often entails maintaining or restoring landscape connections. However, conservationists also destroy connectivity by constructing wildlife fences. A recent debate about the use of fences to protect African lions (1–3) highlights a more general need to e...
Article
Little is known about the dynamics of small mammals in tropical savanna: a critical gap in our understanding of Africa's best known ecosystems. Historical evidence suggested small mammals peak in abundance (outbreak) in Serengeti National Park (SNP), as in agricultural systems. We asked 1) what are bottom–up drivers of small mammals and 2) do preda...
Article
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Biodiversity hotspots understandably attract considerable conservation attention. However, deserts are rarely viewed as conservation priority areas, due to their relatively low productivity, yet these systems are home to unique species, adapted to harsh and highly variable environments. While global attention has been focused on hotspots, the world...
Chapter
Mammals are a disparate group, but large mammals in particular have similar conservation needs. They tend to need large areas and to be relatively slow growing, making them less resilient. They are more likely to be killed by humans for their meat, trophies, or because they are a danger or a nuisance. Conservation efforts for mammals particularly f...
Article
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Multi-level fission-fusion societies, characteristic of a number of large brained mammal species including some primates, cetaceans and elephants, are among the most complex and cognitively demanding animal social systems. Many free-ranging populations of these highly social mammals already face severe human disturbance, which is set to accelerate...