Kudu, Forest Duikers, and Unexpected Cheetahs

A look at wildlife studies from a diverse range of scientists

Without the physical evidence of preserved hairs or bones, how are a group of scientists claiming lesser kudu once roamed in Saudi Arabia? Archeologists from the U.K. and Saudi Arabia analyzed over six thousand ancient rock paintings in a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saudi Arabia and discovered artistic depictions of lesser kudu from the Stone Age. Previously, this mammal had never been known to exist that far north. To read more about this discovery, check out the study here.

The pursuit for more reliable data continues as well for accurate forest duiker numbers in Central Africa. A recent study concluded that population models may need to be species-specific. For example, the models that worked for the yellow-backed duiker did not yield dependable data for the red-flanked duiker.

Just a little further east, another group is also looking at under-utilized resources to understand wildlife ranges. They found that integrating local knowledge is an essential tool for the conservation of wildlife in data‐poor regions. Local scientists in Somaliland are working with ecologists from Colorado State University to create better models for predicting wildlife distribution in East Africa. Through conducted interviews with the local people, certain species that were presumed to be thriving, such as the African wild donkey, have not been seen in years, whereas others, like the cheetah, were thought to be nonexistent in Somaliland, but have been seen by hundreds of locals in the last two years. While limitations come from misidentifying mammals, read more about the study in the Ecological Society of America Journal here.

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