Friday, 21 August 2015
Banded mongoose are small (<2 kg) group-living, territorial carnivores. They occur in groups or troops that can number 8-65 individuals in our study area. This species has been the focus of a long-term study in Chobe, Botswana since 2000 where we have developed a field research laboratory and work collaboratively with the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism. Banded mongoose are infected with Mycobacterium mungi, a novel emerging M. tuberculosis complex pathogen that appears to be directly transmitted through a non-respiratory route. Endemic disease in this system allows us to investigate our study questions, identify theory and knowledge, as well as dynamical modeling approaches that have broad application across a larger class of systems where group-living may make some species more vulnerable to disease and other sources of mortality.