University campuses can contribute to wildlife conservation in urbanizing regions: a case study from Nigeria

Main Article Content

Iliyasu Simon
Jennifer Che
Lynne R. Baker


Globally, colleges and universities are increasingly mandating sustainability and environmental protection into their practices.  To date, such institutions have focused their efforts on recycling and energy-use reduction and less on the management and conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitats. However, in an increasingly urbanizing world, well-managed campuses can provide habitat and even refuge for wildlife species.  On the campus of a sustainability-minded university in Nigeria, we used camera traps to determine the presence of wildlife and used occupancy modeling to evaluate factors that influenced the detectability and habitat use of two mammals for which we had sufficient detections: White-tailed Mongoose Ichneumia albicauda and Gambian Rat Cricetomys gambianus.  Our intent was to gather baseline data on campus wildlife to inform future research and make recommendations for maintaining wildlife populations.  We detected wildlife primarily within less-disturbed areas that contained a designated nature area, and the presence of a nature area was the key predictor variable influencing habitat use.  No measured variables influenced detectability.  This study supports other research that highlights the importance of undisturbed or minimally disturbed natural habitats on university campuses for wildlife, especially in increasingly built-up and developed regions.  We recommend that institutions of higher education devote greater resources to making campuses wildlife-friendly and increase opportunities for students to engage in campus-based wildlife research and conservation and other sustainability-related programs. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Iliyasu Simon, Jennifer Che and Lynne R. Baker 2020. University campuses can contribute to wildlife conservation in urbanizing regions: a case study from Nigeria. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 12, 13 (Sep. 2020), 16736–16741. DOI:


Admasu, E., S.J. Thirgood, A. Bekele & M.K. Laurenson (2004). Spatial ecology of white-tailed mongoose in farmland in the Ethiopian Highlands. African Journal of Ecology 42: 153‒159. DOI:

Ajayi, S.S. (1977). Field observations on the African giant rat Cricetomys gambianus Waterhouse in southern Nigeria. East African Wildlife Journal 15: 191‒198. DOI:

Aneesh, K.S., C.K. Adarsh & P.O. Nameer (2013). Butterflies of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) campus, Thrissur, Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5: 4422–4440. DOI:

Baker, L.R., T.W. Arnold, O.S. Olubode & D.L. Garshelis (2011). Considerations for using occupancy surveys to monitor forest primates: a case study with Sclater’s monkey (Cercopithecus sclateri). Population Ecology 53: 549–561. DOI:

Bocsi, T., P.S. Warren, R.W. Harper & S. DeStefano (2018). Wildlife habitat management on college and university campuses. Cities and the Environment 11(1): Article 1.

Calder, W. & R.M. Clugston (2003). International efforts to promote higher education for sustainable development. Planning for Higher Education 31: 30‒44.

Dariye, E.P. (2016). Woody plant diversity and composition in two nature areas on the American University of Nigeria campus, Yola, Adamawa State. Unpublished undergraduate thesis. American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria.

Dombrosky, J. & S. Wolverton (2014). TNR and conservation on a university campus: a political ecological perspective. PeerJ 2: e312. DOI:

Hines, J.E. (2006). PRESENCE–Software to estimate patch occupancy and related parameters. USGS-PWRC.

Hubbard, R.D. & C.K. Nielsen (2009). White-tailed deer attacking humans during the fawning season: a unique human–wildlife conflict on a university campus. Human-Wildlife Conflicts 3: 129–135.

Knight, M.H. (1988). Thermoregulation in the largest African cricetid, the giant rat Cricetomys gambianus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 89: 705–708. DOI:

Krasny, M.E. & J. Delia (2015). Natural area stewardship as part of campus sustainability. Journal of Cleaner Production 106: 87–96. DOI:

MacKenzie, D.I., J.D. Nichols, J.A. Royle, K.H. Pollock, L.L. Bailey & J.E. Hines (eds.) (2006). Occupancy Estimation and Modeling: Inferring Patterns and Dynamics of Species Occurrence. Elsevier, San Diego, CA.

McCleery, R.A., R.R. Lopez, L.A. Harveson, N.J. Silvy & R.D. Slack (2005). Integrating on-campus wildlife research projects into the wildlife curriculum. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33: 802–809.[802:IOWRPI]2.0.CO;2

Normile, D. (2004). Conservation takes a front seat as university builds new campus. Science 305(5682): 329–331. DOI:

Ramesh, T. & C.T. Downs (2015). Impact of land use on occupancy and abundance of terrestrial mammals in the Drakensberg Midlands, South Africa. Journal for Nature Conservation 23: 9–18. DOI:

Ramli, R. (2004). Green areas and avian species richness in University of Malaya campus, peninsular Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Science 23: 7‒13.

Schuette, P., A.P. Wagner, M.E. Wagner & S. Creel (2013). Occupancy patterns and niche partitioning within a diverse carnivore community exposed to anthropogenic pressures. Biological Conservation 158: 301–312. DOI:

Tennent, J., C.T. Downs & M. Bodasing (2009). Management recommendations for feral cat (Felis catus) populations within an urban conservancy in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 39: 137‒142. DOI:

Waser, P.M. (1980). Small nocturnal carnivores: ecological studies in the Serengeti. African Journal of Ecology 18: 167‒185. DOI:

van Weenen, H. (2000). Towards a vision of a sustainable university. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 1: 20‒34. DOI: