Black-footed cat: Home range and social organisation research

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Monday, 1st March 2004

Home range size and social organisation of black-footed cats (Felis nigripes)

Sliwa, A.

Mammalian Biology volume 69, 96–107 (2004)


A total of 17 black-footed cats (7 males, 10 females) were studied by telemetry and direct observation on a game farm near Kimberley, South Africa. Total annual ranges of five adult resident males averaged 20.7 km2 (100% Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP100)) or 16.1 km2 (95% MCP = MCP95) incorporating all fixes taken, and were significantly larger than the annual ranges of seven adult females with 10 km2 (MCP100) or 8.6 km2 (MCP95). Male seasonal ranges were significantly larger than those of all females. Adult resident males overlapped with up to four female’s ranges and encompassed on average 66.7% of each females’ range during winter 1997 or 60.2% during summer 1998, respectively. Intrasexual overlap in the 1998 summer non-mating season was slight for adult males (12.9% for MCP100, n = 3) but was considerable for females (40.4% for MCP100, n = 5). The range of one female lay entirely within the home range of another, but despite this overlap all black-footed cats hunted solitarily. Consecutive calculated seasonal range centres of black-footed cats shifted by 835 ± 414 m and MCP95 ranges were overlapped by the next season’s range by 68 ± 11%, and were thus relatively stable. The population density for the 60 km2 study area in summer 1998 was 0.17 adult cats/km2.

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