Nakedi Maputla (2009)
Alumni Diploma Students
I was born in South Africa and obtained my MSc. from the University of Pretoria where I studied the systematics of the pouched mouse, Saccostomus campestris. The pouched mouse shows a high degree of karyotypic variation with up to 16 variants (2n = 28-50) reported to date. My aim was to answer questions relating to this variation using 1) partial sequences from the mitochondrial genome (Cytochrome b and 16S rRNA); 2) G-banding cytogenetic data; and 3) geometric morphometrics. With this multidisciplinary approach I was able to gather enough information to make robust conclusions about the taxonomic status of the pouched mouse in southern Africa.
I am a research officer for the African Wildlife Foundation (www.awf.org) and am based in the Kruger National Park (KNP). I am interested in understanding the drivers of leopard, Panthera pardus population dynamics in the KNP ecosystem that stem from fears that bovine tuberculosis may be negatively affecting the lion, Panthera leo population. There is another concern that this may ignite a series of top down cascade effects, which may benefit other predators or impact them negatively. My work is closely linked to the lion and hyena, Crocuta crocuta projects that are currently running in the Park. While there has been a lot of effort put into ascertaining lion and spotted hyena population status, little has been done on the leopard except for observations that the leopard population is on an increase. I am thus in the process of calibrating and validating camera trapping as a suitable method to use in estimating leopard population parameters in the KNP and surrounding areas. My ambition for the next few years is to investigate and monitor the leopard population relative to lion and spotted hyena in the Park and make recommendations to the Park authorities thereof.
‘Being part of this course was an eye opener for me. Not only did I have an opportunity to meet some of the world leaders in conservation, I learned new field techniques that are vital to the success of my work back home in South Africa.’ 16th December 2009.
- A comparative study of seasonal changes in feral American mink (mustela vison) populatinos from four islands
- A fine scale assessment of the relationship between murine rodent species and the afroalpine vegetation species on the Bale Mountain National Park, Ethiopia