AfREC Fellow Collaborates with Wits University in the Kalahari

During January-February 2020, AfREC Research Fellow Prof. Shane Maloney from the UWA School of Human Sciences visited the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, as part of the Carnegie-Wits Alumni Diaspora Program.

Pro. Maloney (left) at Tswalu Reserve in the Kalahari with Prof. Andrea Fuller and PhD students Ms Valery Phakoago (who works on juveniles of the endangered Temminck's Ground Pangolin), Ms Wendy Panaino (who has nearly completed her PhD on the physiology and ecology of Temminck's Ground Pangolin), and Ms Tilly Molete (who is working on the physiology and ecology of bat-eared foxes).

During the visit, Prof. Maloney rekindled collaborations with Prof. Andrea Fuller and Emeritus Prof. Duncan Mitchell on the thermal physiology of mammals, including humans, and the responses of large mammals to climate change. After a few days working with research students at Tswalu Reserve in the Kalahari, Prof. Maloney presented seminars to the Faculty of Health Sciences, the School of Animal Plant and Environmental Sciences, and the School of Physiology at Wits.

Prof. Maloney’s research on ‘Physiological performance and spatial patterns of dispersing juvenile ground pangolins in a semi-arid environment’ investigates the physiological welfare and space use of juvenile ground pangolins at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve. It aims to quantify and compare the body temperature, movement patterns, habitat and diet preference of juveniles and compare those data to that of adult pangolins at Tswalu.

While not a widely known animal, pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world and their habitats are under threat from climate change and land use changes. Electrified fencing on game reserves causes mortality and population numbers are decreasing worldwide.

Prof. Maloney, with the Director of the Carnegie-Wits Alumni Diaspora Program, Prof. Bev Kramer, and Prof. Andrea Fuller, at his presentation to the Faculty of Health Sciences.

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