We used scat analysis to study the diet of two
sympatric medium-sized carnivores: brown hyaena
and black-backed jackal, in the NorthWest 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.