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  • Writer's pictureStéphanie Périquet

19°S: Space use by spotted hyaenas

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

If you are a large carnivore enthusiast, you probably have heard that they are wide ranging species requiring a lot of space to establish their home ranges countless times. But how much space is "a lot of space"? Are there any variations in the amount of space they need and if so, what are the factors affecting their home range size? These are some questions we and a group of collaborators are trying to answer for spotted hyeanas. Carnivore home range sizes are known to be affected by prey abundance and distribution: the more prey and the more clumped they are, the smaller the home ranges. Prey abundance and distribution are driven by food and water availability, which are in turn affected by rainfall and soil characteristics…

We have collected data from spotted hyaenas equipped with GPS collars in Etosha and Khaudum National Parks and the Zambezi region in Namibia, as well as in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. These datasets are spread along the 19°S longitude, along a gradient of annual rainfall ranging from 270mm in Western Etosha to ~600mm in Hwange. Soils are also markedly different between these areas. Using the GPS data from the collars, we will therefore establish if and how these 2 parameters after hyaenas home range sizes and their seasonal variations.

The figure below shows the study areas with the GPS locations of the tracked hyeanas (dots of various colours).

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