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T Kambongi
L Heyns
D Rodenwoldt

Abstract

Successfully conserving large carnivores requires an in-depth understanding of their habitat requirements. Ideally this includes a knowledge of the habitat types and features used as resting sites. Resting sites are an important requirement for many species, as they have the potential to influence species distribution and density. We examined the daytime resting sites used by brown hyaenas, a large carnivore endemic to southern Africa and classed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, within an enclosed reserve in north-central Namibia. Using historical spatial data from GPS collars we analysed 1 582 resting sites from nine adult brown hyaenas and classified them according to their location relative to the home range of each hyaena. We also visited a randomly chosen sub-set (n = 123) of these resting sites in the field and recorded habitat types and microhabitat features for each. Our results showed that brown hyaenas most frequently rested within the core area of their home range, most frequently in riverine habitat, followed by bush encroached habitat, and most frequently used microhabitat under a tree or bush. The fact that bush encroached habitat is being frequently used for resting is an important consideration for brown hyaena conservation. Bush encroached areas are often cleared by debushing projects in Namibia and the practice may negatively impact brown hyaenas.

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Section B: Research reports