The African Predators course explores the biology and ecology of the predators found in Africa. Gain an understanding of the role of scavengers and the methods used to survive competition. Although the most prominent form of predation is possibly the type that is associated with lions killing and eating buffalo, or African wild dogs killing and eating impala (i.e. carnivores eating other animals), it should be remembered that the true definition of a predator is any organism that, kills or inflicts injury on another organism in order to gain sustenance for its own survival.
If a predator population was so large, or the prey population was so small or defenceless, predation could quickly reduce or even wipe out the prey population, thereby reducing biodiversity. The scenario above rarely happens in natural settings as prey animals have evolved various mechanisms to escape or avoid predation. Likewise, predation requires energy expenditure and therefore predators rarely hunt unless they are hungry. Additionally, most predators have predators of their own, or at least competitors, so their population is also kept under control by these interactions.