Monday, 28 July 2014

Vehicle donation boosts research project

SPONSORED: Land Rover South Africa in partnership with the SATIB Conservation Trust sponsored a brand new vehicle to the Kgalagadi Lion Project. The project forms part a Masters research project conducted by Otto and Maya Beukes SPONSORED: Land Rover South Africa in partnership with the SATIB Conservation Trust sponsored a brand new vehicle to the Kgalagadi Lion Project. The project forms part a Masters research project conducted by Otto and Maya Beukes

A ground-breaking project that will reveal critical information on the activities of the lion population in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park has been boosted with the donation of a brand new research vehicle.

Husband and wife team, Maya and Otto Beukes, are spearheading the Kgalagadi Lion Project, a collaboration between CPUT and the South African National Parks (SANParks). The project forms part of their Masters research in the field of Nature Conservation.

The Land Rover Defender sponsored by Land Rover South Africa in partnership with the SATIB Conservation Trust, will act as a base from which to locate and observe lions across the approximately 1.5 million hectare study area. The duo covers an average distance of 2500 kilometres per month, of which a large part is rough terrain.

“The project has suffered numerous vehicle problems over the past year due to the fact that old vehicles were used,” says the couple.

“We are sincerely grateful that we now have a trustworthy vehicle that is up for the task! We can now breathe a huge sigh of relief and get cracking with the lion research with a renewed confidence.”

The project was initiated after a survey conducted in the park, which straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana, found a skewed sex ratio in favour of lion males which could result in a collapse of the park’s lion population.

img-Vehicle-donation-boosts-research-project-2NEW WHEELS: Otto and Maya Beukes (right) along with the funders and their brand new research vehicle

Maya and Otto are responsible for conducting a detailed study on the lion population by collecting critical information on their demography and dietary patterns.

This information gathered will be used to help identify the cause of the sex skew and to inform management decisions on lion conservation in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The couple has been working in the park since 2013 and has already collected a significant amount of data.

Dr Joseph Kioko, Head of the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Management, says CPUT is grateful for the vehicle donation. 

Kioko says the vehicle will play a key role in the success of this project, which will contribute  to the conservation and viability of the Kgalagadi lion population, and directly to the conservation and economic goals of the country.

The project will run over a two year period and is being supervised by CPUT’s Dr Frans Radloff and SANParks's Dr Sam Ferreira, who is also a Research Associate in the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please contact Maya or Otto Beukes at info@kalaharilions.co.za

You can also find updates on the Kgalagadi Lion Project on www.kalaharilions.co.za

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.