Under certain conditions reserves can pose a threat to wildlife conservation by increasing the transmission of parasites and pathogens. In this study, I investigated associations between reserve characteristics including area, density and species richness and parasite infection rates in impala (Aepyceros melampus). Using coprological methods to measure gastrointestinal parasitism rates of impala inhabiting five fully or partially fenced game reserves in central Kenya, I found that bovid species richness was correlated with parasite taxa richness across reserves, and that prevalence rates of multi-host strongyle nematodes were higher in reserves with more species. In addition, reserve size was also implicated as a potential predictor of infection risk. Overall, these results suggest that wildlife inhabiting highly diverse and small reserves may suffer from higher than normal rates of infection. Given the potential debilitating effects increases in parasitism can have on wildlife, these results underscore the importance of considering parasite transmission dynamics in the management of small, fenced protected areas. ?? 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Parasite infection rates of impala (Aepyceros melampus) in fenced game reserves in relation to reserve characteristics