Continued monitoring of mesocarnivores using camera traps

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Tuesday, 1st November 2022

Assessing local patterns in carnivore occupancy and richness by camera trapping: a monitoring of diversity at Verloren Vallei Nature
Reserve, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga 2022

Loock, D.J.E. & Swanepoel, L.H. 2022.  Corresponding author daanje.l@mweb.co.za 

Abstract


We conducted the third monitoring assessment on the Verloren Vallei reserve outside Dullstroom from mid- June 2022 to end of July 2022. The objective of this assessment is to estimate and monitor the relative abundance and diversity of carnivore and non-carnivore species. We deployed 40 camera detectors , and achieved an adequate sampling coverage to estimate richness and relative abundance. During a 40 day sampling period (1 600 trap nights), we detected eleven carnivore species.
The most common species detected were Black-backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas), Serval (Leptailurus serval), Caracal (Caracal caracal), Cape fox (Vulpes chama) and African wild cat (Felis silvestris). Relative abundances during this survey period is higher for Black-backed Jackal (320), compared to 2019 (261), and lower for the
other common carnivore species like serval (39), Cape fox (13) and African wild cat (11). The 2022 assessment highlighted the increase in Black-jackal detections and an apparent decline in species richness and abundance compared to previous surveys (Loock & Swanepoel, 2019). A major constraint in camera deployment is an annual increase in camera theft from the first surveys. This theft places a large constrain on funding for following years and needs to be address if future surveys is planned.

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