Our work is centered on testing methods to limit livestock losses by predators to secure farmer livelihood and conserve biological diversity. To this effect, we are taking an ecosystem approach by observing multiple trophic levels, from top predators to small mammals and vegetation. As part of our research program we are quantifying small mammal diversity and abundance not only to identify prey availability for mesopredators such as caracal and jackal, but also to assess trophic interactions between predator and prey species on farmlands and a protected area.
We use Sherman live traps to capture nocturnal and diurnal small mammal species that are baited with peanut butter, oats, cucumber and apple. Evenings can get cold so we outfit each trap with an aerothane wrap and place a ball of sheep wool, generously donated by a participating farmer, inside the trap.