Ever since the industrial revolution, human activities have resulted in rapid environmental changes including degradation, fragmentation and destruction of habitat, climate change and biodiversity loss. Animals, such as large carnivores, are often among the first to disappear as human disturbance increases. The fact that human activities have had catastrophic consequences for some species is undisputed. But there are also instances where wildlife has benefited from human interventions, such as raccoons and coyotes that flourish in urban areas. This is because they can exploit resources like food and low levels of competition from other species that are less able to adapt. We made a startling discovery that provides another example of wildlife thriving in an industrial site. We found that servals, a wild cat, were living in the shadow of a huge petrochemical plant in Secunda. Using repeated camera trap surveys we found that serval were present — and thriving — at the Secunda Synfuels...

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