Aliza le Roux, Prof.

South Africa
University of the Free State
BII expert in: Small carnivores and primates

I am a behavioural ecologist specialising in the behaviour of small carnivores such as yellow mongoose, bat-eared foxes, and black-backed jackal. My past research includes work on social primates and whistling rats. I am very interested in decision-making as affected by different types of risk, which includes the interaction between humans and small carnivores. Anthropogenic habitats pose both risks and rewards to small carnivores, while increased interspecific contact may also expose humans to more zoonotic pathogens. To uncover patterns of small-carnivore behaviour at a larger scale, I am currently engaging in more collaborative research across study sites and species.

Very often, small carnivores do well in disturbed habitats, where their social behaviour may increase. Although this social (and dietary) flexibility is not detrimental to the small carnivores per se, it does tend to increase the circulation of pathogens in their populations, and by extension also exposes humans to more risk from the zoonotic disease.