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Tswalu Foundation Research Stories

In conversation with Valery Phakoago

PhD candidate Valery Phakoago is studying population densities, habitat preference, diet and activity patterns of aardvarks and Temminck’s ground pangolins at Tswalu Kalahari, a project which falls under the KEEP climate-change programme.

In conversation with Wendy Panaino

PhD candidate Wendy Panaino is Tswalu’s resident ground pangolin expert and project manager for the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Project (KEEP), which aims to understand the responses of multiple Kalahari organisms to climate change.

Boscia trees and butterflies

Current research has confirmed that Tswalu Kalahari is distinctly a source area for the butterfly migration, thanks to the large number of Boscia albitrunca trees on both sides of the Korannaberg mountains.

Secret pollinators of Nerine laticoma

Since Nerine species generally tend to have only one or two pollinators, the glorious proliferation of pollinators of this particular species is fascinating and has led to more questions.

Unearthing the Kalahari’s long human history

Until recently there had been little systematic archaeological research within the expansive, protected area of Tswalu. However, there is clear evidence of human activity extending back in time to at least 500,000 years ago.

Conflict, dread and imagining in the Southern Kalahari

The southern Kalahari has been both home and refuge for many groups of people over an extended period of time: hunter-gatherers from at least the Middle Stone Age; Later Stone Age ancestors of N|uu speakers as well as seasonal visitors, and pastoralists from about 500AD.

Highly adaptive brown hyena

The hierarchy of the brown hyena is quite complex, with aggressive rituals dominating relationships. Clans are incredibly territorial, and may cover an area of up to 500 square kilometres.

The secret life of pangolins

While pangolins are known to be threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, electrocution by electric fences, habitat loss, and road mortalities, very little attention has been focused on how climate change will affect their welfare.

The impact of climate change

There are few, and possibly no other, studies that have aimed to understand responses of multiple species with an entire ecosystem, making KEEP a unique, ground-breaking project.

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