Black-footed Cat Working Group update 2019

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Tuesday, 31st December 2019

Report on surveying and monitoring Black-footed cats (Felis nigripes) on Benfontein Nature Reserve and in Namibia in 2019.

Black-footed Cat Working Group

Sliwa,A., Wilson, B., Rodgers, M., Anver, J., Schroeder, M., Küsters, M., Hauptfleisch, M.

Introduction:

The Black-footed Cat Working Group (BFCWG) aims to conserve this rare cat species by furthering awareness and conducting multidisciplinary research on the species’ biology. The BFCWG owns a research vehicle (formerly a Toyota Hilux, now a Ford Ranger) for which the insurance, running and maintenance costs were administered by the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa until the establishment of the NPC in 2019. The specialised equipment required for our research is also stored at the McGregor Museum. This year we didn’t make a joint trip to exchange and capture new individual cats in the current long-term study area, Benfontein Nature Reserve (BFN), near Kimberley. The remaining radio-collared cats continued to be monitored with different intensity by field technicians and Alex Sliwa, the project leader. With the goal of establishing a new study area outside of South Africa, the project leader travelled to southern Namibia (21-28 January 2019) with the BFCWG member, Martina Küsters, and Morgan Hauptfleisch, where they surveyed several areas for the presence of black-footed cats. A full and extensive report on Namibia is available from the first author via email and athttps://www.koelnerzoo.de/images/pdf/Zeitschriften/Black-footed-Cat-Survey-Namibia-January-2019.pdf. In order to facilitate further exploration of potential BFC populations and future monitoring of cats in Namibia, a vehicle sponsorship was received from Auas Motors in Windhoek. The vehicle is administered through the Namibia University of Science and Technology’s Biodiversity Research Centre.

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