Stans Prize for Mirthe Fonck
The ‘Stans Prize 2014' (for the best thesis, report or article produced by a CML student) has been awarded to Myrthe Fonck. Other CML prizes were awarded to David Font Vivanco, Ester van der Voet, Martina Vijver and Paul van den Brink.
Myrthe Fonck for her Master Thesis called: "Human-lion conflicts in the Nairobi National Park - Lion diet and factors influencing lion prey choice”
The Stans Prize is a yearly student incentive award for the best thesis, article or report produced by a CML student. The prizes were presented at the CML New Years Meeting on January, 13. 2015 Myrthe has given a short presentation about her Master research in Kenya.
Summary of the research of Myrthe
This study has been conducted during the wet season (March-April) in the Nairobi national park in order to analyse factors contributing to conflicts between lions and the surrounding Masaai communities. Costs and benefits of livestock raiding are assessed, trying to study the ecology behind the prey choice helping in future mitigation actions. A total prey biomass of 487332 kg was found, enough to sustain a lion population of 22 lions. This is lower than our population number estimation of 30 individuals, indicating that the carrying capacity of the park is reached during the wet season. Based on scat analysis zebra and livestock showed to have the largest contribution to lion’s diet, respectively 32% and 19%.
In total 16 different prey animals (including livestock) were found in lion’s scat, the other species varying in contribution between 2% and 9%. According to Jacob’s index zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog and ostrich are preferred prey species, whereas buffalo, impala, grant’s gazelle, hartebeest, eland and giraffe are avoided. No difference in livestock depredation rate is observed between seasons, but Masaai pastoralists living within a range of 3 km from the southern park border experience significantly more attacks than pastoralists housed further away. In addition bomas equipped with flashlights (mimicking human activity) experienced no attacks anymore after installation of those lights, whereas the attack rate on bomas without lights seems to increase. This indicates that lions seem to be able to balance the benefits of livestock raiding with the associated costs and that flashlights are an effective method in preventing livestock depredation and thereby human-lion conflicts.
Other CML publication prizes for 2014
During the meeting also the other publication prizes were announced.
The best CML scientific publications was:
- David Font Vivanco and Ester van der Voet: The rebound effect through industrial ecology’s eyes: a review of LCA-based studies.
The CML publication with the highest societal impact was the article:
- Macro-Invertebrate Decline in Surface Water Polluted with Imidacloprid: A Rebuttal and some New Analysis by Martina Vijver and Paul van den Brink.