Brown hyaena and leopard diets on private land in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa


Understanding diet, food acquisition, and interrelationships between predators that are exceedingly reliant on private land is crucial for their conservation. Our data show that brown hyaenas on private land in the Soutpansberg Mountains have a varied diet consisting of mostly wild mammals. High dietary overlap with leopards and evidence supporting scavenging behaviour suggests that leop- ards could potentially provide brown hyaenas with scavenging opportunities, and thus function as a keystone species for brown hyaenas on private land. Leopards are experiencing severe declines, both in the Soutpansberg Mountains (Williams et al., 2017) and glob- ally (Jacobson et al., 2016). Conservation management plans that adopt a multiā€species approach are required to preserve leopards and consequently provide food security for scavengers like brown hyaenas, which supply important ecosystem services through their feeding habits (Beasley, Olson, & DeVault, 2015).

African Journal of Ecology