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Carnivore hunting policy does not always align with science: a new paper published in the journal Science concludes that policies regulating the hunting of large carnivores do not always align with basic scientific data

January 5, 2016

David Macdonald comments on one example ‘Current policies for wolf hunting in the Northern Rockies do not specify a target population size, a maximum number killed or a desired rate of population growth. Beyond avoiding a decline that would provoke re-listing under the Endangered Species Act, the goals of current policy are not clearly defined.’ The ... Read full story

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How wild is wilderness? David Macdonald reports on a new WildCRU paper that reflects on prey without predators (and the tangled influences of predation and the weather)

December 16, 2015

There is much about conservation in South Africa which is successful but also provocative, and one such thing is the proliferation there of relatively small fenced reserves, raising tricky questions about exactly what is wilderness and what is natural. Smaller reserves with few, or even no, large predators are an increasingly popular business model in southern Africa. ... Read full story

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Are Cecil’s grand offspring on the way? David Macdonald reports that a 4 and a half year old male lion, nicknamed Xanda, which the WildCRU team has monitored since his cubhood is almost certainly one of Cecil’s sons

December 8, 2015

Last week Xanda was seen mating repeatedly with lionesses from the so-called Backpans Pride – pregnancy in lions lasts about 110 days, so all being well Cecil’s grand offspring should be around in March. Actually, as followers of our News Items will remember, while Andy Loveridge and I started the Hwange Lion Project in 1999, it ... Read full story

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Cecil’s pride – NoBhuhle (Beautiful)

December 22, 2015

As the Christmas holidays approach, David Macdonald has more good news from Cecil’s pride Followers of our lion study in Hwange will realise that the WildCRU team is striving to monitor the private lives of the lionesses and cubs now overseen by the aging male, Jericho, Cecil’s former coalition partner. For some time we have wanted ... Read full story

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Rescuing Mbuzini (for those not speaking N’dbele: Goat): David Macdonald reports on the interface between conservation and animal welfare and the activities of Lovemore Sibanda in the village communities around Hwange

December 9, 2015

Lovemore, as you will have read in earlier News Items, is the member of our lion team who specialises in working with villages to understand the human dimension of depredation by lions on domestic stock. On the 7th December Lovemore investigated a conflict report of a young male lion that had killed a bull in ... Read full story

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A star attraction: David Macdonald describes the illegal trade in India’s star tortoise

December 1, 2015

Patterned with star-like figures on their shells, Indian star tortoises can be found in private homes across Asia, where they are commonly kept as pets. One can also see them in religious temples, praised as the living incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. How did they get there? Suspicious of a large-scale illegal international trade of ... Read full story

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