Archived project

Carnivore Presence and Spatial Distribution in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

Goal: As part of my Master of research (MRes) degree, I conducted a camera trapping survey in a remote reserve in Northern Malawi. This was done in collaboration with Conservation Research Africa and Carnivore Research Malawi with data contributed by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Biosphere Expeditions. The aim of this study was to assess the species composition and distribution in the reserve and provide management recommendations to aid the future conservation of these species. During 8 weeks of fieldwork in Malawi, I analysed footage from 70 camera stations which was collected over 543 total trapping days. This was the first large-scale camera trapping study to be conducted in the reserve. I analysed this data using QGIS mapping software and R statistical software.

I identified a total of 37 species including 17 carnivores. These were subdivided into 3 large carnivore species and 14 mesocarnivores. Four of these had never been seen in the reserve before. One species, the Angolan Genet, was found to be over 300km outside of its previously known geographic range, and a paper was subsequently published about this discovery. It was also shown that there is a higher density of carnivores near the boundary of the reserve, especially in the southeast around Lake Kazuni. This is an area of high human use, which leads to concerns about humanwildlife conflict. The results of this study suggests that this area should be considered a high priority when addressing conflict.

Date: 1 September 2018 - 1 September 2019

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Rebecca O' Sullivan
added a project goal
As part of my Master of research (MRes) degree, I conducted a camera trapping survey in a remote reserve in Northern Malawi. This was done in collaboration with Conservation Research Africa and Carnivore Research Malawi with data contributed by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Biosphere Expeditions. The aim of this study was to assess the species composition and distribution in the reserve and provide management recommendations to aid the future conservation of these species. During 8 weeks of fieldwork in Malawi, I analysed footage from 70 camera stations which was collected over 543 total trapping days. This was the first large-scale camera trapping study to be conducted in the reserve. I analysed this data using QGIS mapping software and R statistical software.
I identified a total of 37 species including 17 carnivores. These were subdivided into 3 large carnivore species and 14 mesocarnivores. Four of these had never been seen in the reserve before. One species, the Angolan Genet, was found to be over 300km outside of its previously known geographic range, and a paper was subsequently published about this discovery. It was also shown that there is a higher density of carnivores near the boundary of the reserve, especially in the southeast around Lake Kazuni. This is an area of high human use, which leads to concerns about humanwildlife conflict. The results of this study suggests that this area should be considered a high priority when addressing conflict.
 
Rebecca O' Sullivan
added 2 research items
Prior to this study, the nearest sighting of miombo genet to VMWR was 300 km away in Zambia. According to the IUCN range map, the nearest confirmed record is 300 km from VMWR in Zambia. Although this species is not thought to be threatened, the population trend is poorly understood. This note presents a new recorded location for this species as part of ongoing biodiversity research in VMWR.
As part of my Master of research (MRes) degree, I conducted a camera trapping survey in a remote reserve in Northern Malawi. This was done in collaboration with Conservation Research Africa and Carnivore Research Malawi with data contributed by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Biosphere Expeditions. The aim of this study was to assess the species composition and distribution in the reserve and provide management recommendations to aid the future conservation of these species. During 8 weeks of fieldwork in Malawi, I analysed footage from 70 camera stations which was collected over 543 total trapping days. This was the first large-scale camera trapping study to be conducted in the reserve. I analysed this data using QGIS mapping software and R statistical software. I identified a total of 37 species including 17 carnivores. These were subdivided into 3 large carnivore species and 14 mesocarnivores. Four of these had never been seen in the reserve before. One species, the Angolan Genet, was found to be over 300km outside of its previously known geographic range, and a paper was subsequently published about this discovery. It was also shown that there is a higher density of carnivores near the boundary of the reserve, especially in the southeast around Lake Kazuni. This is an area of high human use, which leads to concerns about humanwildlife conflict. The results of this study suggests that this area should be considered a high priority when addressing conflict.