Management interventions in small (<30 000 ha) to medium-sized (<100 000 ha) fenced reserves require careful planning to minimize alterations to predator-prey dynamics. However, when interventions result in severe changes to predator prey dynamics, learning from these outcomes can assist in informing future interventions. In small to medium-sized ventions. We used lion (Panthera leo) and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) interventions (lion introduction and buffalo translocation) in the Addo Elephant National Park to investigate the response of the buffalo—lion dynamic in the park. Responses did not conform to our expectations for either lions or buffalo. Rather than dominate the remaining solitary male lion, the introduced coalition split, with one of the introduced male lions (known to hunt buffalo successfully where it originated) joining with the remaining solitary male. Following fragmentation as a result of the buffalo translocation, previously large buffalo herds failed to re-form. These two outcomes resulted in a significant increase in buffalo predation primarily by the newly formed coalition of males, with the majority of buffalo killed originating from splintered herds rather than male-dominated groups as is conventionally found in large ecosystems. Ultimately, management actions can enable us to learn by monitoring the consequences of interventions, allowing us to implement what we have learned in an adaptive management framework.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1