Carnivore camera trapping to estimate species richness and density Dullstroom

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Tuesday, 31st December 2019

Assessing local patterns in carnivore occupancy and richness by camera trapping: a monitoring of diversity at Verloren Vallei Nature Reserve, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga 2019.

Loock, D., Swanepoel. L.

Executive Summary

This is the second monitoring report after a thorough baseline assessment conducted during 2015 and the first monitoring assessment performed during 2018. This monitoring focused on occupancy of the carnivore diversity and not density like in the 2015 report. (Swanepoel, L.H., Matthews, W. 2015). From the 5th August to the 14th of September 2019, (40days), the Verloren Vallei nature reserve outside Dullstroom were surveyed with camera traps. An effective camera trapping effort of 2000 trap nights were achieved. We detected 14 carnivore species, two species less than during the previous assessment conducted during 2018. Another 13 non-carnivore species were detected excluding feral cats, domestic cattle, birds and humans.There is a slight decline in the detection of both carnivore and non-carnivore species for the 2019 assessment. One important detection is the small spotted cat ‘felid nigripes’ a near threatened species, which might be the highest elevated geographical recording for the species. New recordings for 2019 include the Cape Clawless Otter ‘Aonyx capensis’a near threatened species, and Meerkats ‘Suricata suricatta’.The assessment increased in geographical surface with the inclusion of the north-eastern area known as zone 6. This 3implicated that we employed another 10 camera sites, increasing the 40 current sites tot 50 sites in total for Verloren Vallei.

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