The Primate and Predator Project has recently received a grant from the Earthwatch Institute that has allowed us to extend our research base. In 2011, Dr Leah Findlay began her PhD on human-primate conflict, focusing on working with farmers who suffer crop damage from baboons and vervet monkeys. In order to do this, she moved off the Soutpansberg Mountains down into the Alldays area, where there were more crop farmers to work with. The main aim of the PhD was to gather information on the crop raiding problem and provide farmers with non-lethal ways to keep primates from entering crop fields. Although Leah’s PhD made progress toward this end, we felt that the research needed to continue in order to reach real solutions. With that in mind and the help from the Earthwatch Institute, we have now set up a second research site in the Alldays area.
Through the data, we have collected so far, and our interactions with the local farming community, we have established a number of deterrent methods that we will test out to determine whether they are effective at keeping primates out of crop fields. As you can imagine, this can be a pretty difficult task, and we expect to have to trial a fair few ideas before we come up with anything successful. If you have any ideas of your own, please do send them to us in the comments below! As well as these mitigation trials, we also hope to help local livestock farmers that come into conflict with predators, through spreading the work of Philip Faure, our Community Engagement Officer at the Lajuma Research Centre. We will also be getting involved with the local community and increasing our target zones for our environmental education programme.
The Alldays Wildlife and Communities Research Centre is located on Campfornis Game Farm, about 5 km outside of Alldays and is run by Dr Leah Findlay. Through the grant provided by Earthwatch, we have also been able to employ another member of staff – Peet Botes, who is our Farm Trials Assistant. As with our site up at Lajuma Research Centre, we will continue to take on volunteers and students to help us conduct our research – which will mainly be focused on human-wildlife conflict. If you would like information on the positions available at this new site, simply visit our volunteers’ page