Space use in a South African agriculture landscape by the caracal (Caracal caracal)

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Monday, 12th December 2016

Ramesh, T., Kalle, R.,  Downs, C.T.

European Journal of Wildlife Research, Volume 63, Number 1, 2016

Abstract

Agricultural expansion has replaced many natural habitats and the landscape structure with potential benefits to certain wildlife species. Some of mesocarnivores widely use man-made habitats in agri-ecosystems that are devoid of large carnivores and often prey on livestock.

We examined the space use and habitat relationships of radio-collared caracals Caracal caracal between May 2013 and December 2014 in the Drakensberg Midlands, South Africa, to identify suitable habitat for better management of caracals that are perceived as pests in these fragmented agricultural mosaic landscapes. Home ranges of males were bigger than those of females. Caracal movements increased more during the night than the daytime indicating avoidance of peak exposure time to human activities during the day in agricultural lands.

Generalized linear mixed models showed that caracal space use increased with area availability of plantations and cultivations while their space use decreased with increasing altitude and area availability of forests. Our results showed that the modified habitat use over natural habitats and preference to altitude

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