the formation of the Reserve, Dougal has encouraged research on
the Reserves habitats and wildlife. This contributes to the
correct management of the reserve and increasing knowledge of
species behaviour, abundance and habitat preference. Research of
this type has escalated in the last 10 years since Universities
and Research groups have used Mankwe as a Field Centre
undertaking a variety of projects on a regional level as well as
expanding individual areas of interest.
South Africa's Brown Hyenas
2006 saw the expansion of a project which commenced in 2004 into
the endangered brown hyena. It is estimated that fewer than 1700
free ranging brown hyena's exist in South Africa. The project,
which is based at Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, assesses carnivore
populations in areas with different levels of protection and
management (including Mankwe), this will help to develop an
understanding of the ecology and conflict these animals face and
to aid future conservation directions.
Dr. Dawn Scott, Ph.D (Project Principle Investigator)
Monitoring of White Rhino at Mankwe Wildlife Reserve
Since 2005, management at Mankwe Wildlife Reserve has been
monitoring the range utilization, habitat use and behavioural
patterns of White Rhino on the reserve. Using a GPS grid mapping
system, the locations of the White Rhino are mapped and dated to
aid in a long term project, assessing trends in the
reproduction, movements and behaviour of individuals in relation
to climate and habitat.
An ongoing project since 2003 examines the interactions
between burning, grassland community ecology and local patch
choice by grazing ruminants. Data collected will assist Reserve
management in compiling burning and stocking programmes to
improve biodiversity or to improve stock grazing conditions
whilst maintaining the veld in optimum conditions.
F. Wragg (Aberdeen University)
Nocturnal Predators Survey
The management team at Mankwe Wildlife Reserve are currently
introducing a new research project which aims to survey
nocturnal predators on the reserve. Species that are to be
looked at will be black-backed jackal, caracal, genet, serval,
civet, owls and leopard. Using a range of field techniques such
as driven night transects, camera trapping, species observation
and walking spoor and track transects the project aims to find
out about population densities, territories, social behaviour
A vulture restaurant has been established at Mankwe since
early 2008, with the aim of providing a safe supply of food for
the local vulture population, as well as providing a convenient
site to study their feeding ecology and competitive behaviour
with other scavengers.
100 vultures have been caught at the
restaurant and fitted with individual identification tags on
their wings in order to study their ranging behaviour via
re-sighting data. Several white-backed vultures will be caught
and fitted with GPS-tracking devices in order to locate breeding
colonies and foraging ranges.
Students and volunteers
will have the opportunity to observe vultures and other
scavengers feeding at the restaurant and gather important
A number of other research projects are ongoing on the
reserve and it is one of the key tasks for NKOMBI Volunteers to
carry out field work for many of these. Furthering study
projects that have been undertaken in the past and new projects
that are of interest to the management team are also encouraged.
These include the abundance and distribution of steenboks,
reptiles, and amphibians and to compile a comprehensive list of
wildflower occurring on the reserve.