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University of Brighton research has developed new understanding of human-carnivore relationships and promoted coexistence between humans and wild carnivores in Africa and the UK. This has led to changes in the management of human-wildlife interactions.


In South Africa, opposing agendas of livestock and game farming versus wildlife tourism present major challenges for both conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.



In South Africa, researchers combined landscape-scale sign surveys and remote camera ‘trapping’ to assess carnivore abundance, used subsequently to populate new distribution maps for the 104,882 km² North West Province. Surveys and interviews with around 100 landowners identified causes of conflict and solutions for conflict mitigation.

In the UK, the researchers developed a citizen science project linked to broadcasts of 1-hour programmes entitled 'Foxes Live: Wild in the City', each including a call for the public to submit sightings of urban foxes to a website. This generated 17,500 records in a 3-week period, with the data used to determine urban red fox distribution on a national scale. Working with the RSPCA, the team also researched the impact of rehabilitation on urban foxes (2012 – 14) and on hedgehogs during winter.



The data used to identify the brown hyena, cheetah, and leopard as either vulnerable to or near-threatened with extinction on the Red List relies on multiple citations from projects led by the University of Brighton as evidence. These species are now recognised as a global conservation concern.

In North West Province, in response to findings on the territorial behaviour of black-backed jackal, Mankwe Wildlife Reserve ceased their practice of culling the animal, thereby enabling jackal numbers to increase with no negative effects on the reserve.

In the UK, the research has altered practice on the use of temporary captivity in rehabilitation centres as the default management action for sick or injured wildlife. The RSPCA, for example, have used evidence from the research to confirm that their protocol of treating and releasing the hundreds of hedgehogs admitted each winter had no detrimental effect on animal survival.

The data collected on red foxes have been used by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to update contingency plans for the emergence of serious zoonotic diseases.


More information 

Institution: University of Brighton 

Researchers: Professor Dawn Scott, Dr Andrew Overall, Dr Bryony Tolhurst, Dr Maureen Berg

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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Enabling coexistence between humans and wild carnivores. Available at  Last accessed on: <date>