We used scat analysis to study the diet of two sympatric medium-sized carnivores: brown hyaena and black-backed jackal, in the North West Province of South Africa. Seven major dietary categories were identified from the scats, with mammal remains being most common for both species. Brown hyaena scats contained more large mammal remains, which together with the presence of invertebrates (in 50% of all brown hyaena scats), suggests that they mainly scavenged. Jackal scats contained a higher proportion of small mammal remains, suggesting that jackals actively hunted more often than brown hyaenas did. The diets differed significantly between the two species, even though diet overlap was fairly high (0.79). Further analysis, albeit based on small sample sizes, suggests that diet of these mesopredators differ between protected reserves with apex predators and unprotected areas without apex predators, thus confounding generalizations. Further studies are therefore required to investigate possible mesopredator release when apex predators are absent.
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