Black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) and caracals (Caracal caracal) are considered to be major contributors to small livestock depredation in southern Africa (Avgan, et al., 2016; Hoffmann, 2014). However, few studies have been conducted in farmlands where populations are most likely to experience human-wildlife conflict. Studies on both species are quite dated, with limited studies being published after 2005; while very few studies on caracals have arisen from across their range in Namibia (Du Plessis et al., 2015). 

Due to their role in livestock depredation black-backed jackals and caracals are consisdered 'problem animals' and management strategies often include lethal control measures (Avenant, and du Plessis., 2008). However, these population control measures are often ineffective and prior studies have not led to meaningful management stratefies (Du Plessis et al., 2015). As it stands, many management stratefies are not based on scientific findings, but unsubstantiated population estimates and assumptions, and word of mouth (Avenant, and du Plessis., 2008). 

My MPhil project aims to investigate the density, spatial ecology and diet of the black-backed jackal and caracal in the south Namib Desert, Namibia; as well as assess the conflict situation with farmers in the study area. This information will be able to help inform management strategies for the black-backed jackal and caracal populations in the south Namib Desert. 

Advisors: Professor Martine Maron, Dr Jeremy Simmonds

Project members


MPhil Candidate