Title: The Consequences of Livestock-Wildlife Integration for Tick-Borne Disease Risk in Central Kenya
Abstract: Historically, livestock ranching and biodiversity conservation have been considered conflicting uses of African savannas because wildlife and livestock compete for grazing resources and exchange pathogens and parasites. However, recent research demonstrates potential positive interactions between wildlife and livestock from a savanna ecosystem in central Kenya. Our investigations demonstrate at several different spatial scales that cattle dramatically reduce the abundance of host-seeking nymphal and adult ticks, the two stages responsible for transmitting a multitude of tick-borne pathogens. Cattle reduce tick abundance apparently because of the widespread use of acaricides for livestock production. As a result, treated livestock remove ticks from the landscapes in which they graze, thus functioning as “ecological traps” for ticks. This finding, in combination with other recent research from this region, indicates that integrated management of livestock and wildlife has the potential to simultaneously optimize human health and wildlife conservation under some conditions.