Christie Craig will present her PhD Proposal, "Conservation in a Changing World:  Assessing the viability of the agriculturally adapted Blue Crane in the Western Cape".

Abstract: An estimated 90% of the Blue Crane population resides within the Karoo and Western Cape. The species is a near endemic to South Africa that is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In the Western Cape the species is particularly reliant on the cereal cropping/pasture landscapes of the Overberg and Swartland. Up until the early 2000s, the species was increasing in the Western Cape but recently it seems there has been a decline in the Overberg population. My PhD starts by assessing the state of the population, through analysing long-term citizen science data and through monitoring breeding success. Agricultural landscapes are constantly in flux, changing in response to socio-economic as well as environmental factors, creating uncertainty over the long-term sustainability of Blue Cranes in this landscape. My research serves to address this uncertainty, assessing the sustainability of the Western Cape population as a whole and investigating the primary threat to cranes, powerlines, across their stronghold (Western Cape and Karoo). My research will quantify the collision rates in these regions with a series of surveys. How Blue Cranes move and use the landscape is key to their risk of colliding with energy infrastructure. I will use satellite trackers fitted on cranes to learn about the movements of both adult cranes in the Western Cape, and to model collision risk for this species. Given that Western Cape cranes are entirely reliant on agriculture, understanding the future of this landscape is key to assessing the population’s sustainability. I will interview farmers in the Western Cape on their views of change in the agricultural sector, including climate change, and their perceptions of Blue Cranes. With all this information I will use a Population Viability Analysis to investigate the long-term viability of the Western Cape Blue Crane population.  

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Meeting ID: 910 6381 6067
Passcode: 466393

Meeting ID: 910 6381 6067
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