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Camera Trapping Table Mountain and Constantiaberg - Larger
Terrestrial Mammals Approaching Metropolitan Cape Town, South
Thesis (Dissertationen, Habilitationen)
ID 3188930
Author Meyer, Adrian Ferdinand
Author at UniBasel Meyer, Adrian;
Year 2014
Title Camera Trapping Table Mountain and Constantiaberg - Larger Terrestrial Mammals Approaching
Metropolitan Cape Town, South Africa
Pages 126
Type of Thesis
Start of thesis 01.01.2012
End of thesis 01.12.2014
Name of University Universität Basel in Cooperation with Prof. M. Justin O'Riain, University of Cape Town
Name of Faculty
Philosophisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Supervisor(s) / Fachvertreter/in Salzburger, Walter;
Keywords Behavioural Ecology, Anthropogenic Impact, Wildlife Demography, Urbanisation, Environmental
Landscape Analysis, Camera Traps
This thesis is the result of an institutional cooperation between the Department of Environmental Sciences at
the University of Basel and the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town.
Table Mountain and Silvermine-Tokai are the two mountain ranges and distinct sections of Table Mountain
National Park in closest proximity to the metropolitan megacity of Cape Town, SA. This study used unbaited
motion-triggered digital remote camera traps to determine species richness, relative abundance, occupancy,
and spatial distribution of medium- to large-sized terrestrial mammals in the 60km² study range to assist future
decisions of conservation stakeholders by providing unprecedented biodiversity baseline datasets. During
2038 trapping days, 410 individual visits by wild mammals, 1795 individual visits by humans and 351 individual
visits by domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) were evident on the 35 sampling stations. To assess the
internal distribution of mammalian wildlife, the trapping stations were attributed with covariates like altitude,
steepness of slope, mountain aspect, vegetation type and distance to permanent freshwater sources. The
anthropogenic impact on the mammalian wildlife was estimated by attributing covariates to the trapping
stations like distance to settlement, distance to public hiking trails and habitat transformation. The time stamps
of the capturing events were used to obtain hourly and weekday activity patterns, which then were overlapped
to obtain information on the likelihood of interaction between two species.
Humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) were by far the most abundant species. Domestic dogs, the second-most
abundant species, accompanied 20,5% of humans. The occurrence of wild or stray dogs was found to be
highly unlikely. Humans and dogs were active exclusively diurnally and remained on the hiking paths in over
92% of the cases (p<0,001).
Of all wild species, the Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis,LC) was the most highly abundant, being
present in approximately 5% of the trap nights and being found to venture quite far into the suburban
space.The Large Spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina,LC) was similarly abundant, but showed a much stronger
avoidance towards human activity. The Small Spotted Genet (Genetta genetta, LC) was not recorded.The
diurnally active Cape Grey Mongoose (Galerella pulverulenta, LC) avoids human activity by retreating to the
higher altitudes. The Watermongoose (Atilax paludinosus,LC) was found regularly on the riverbanks of
lowland streams, close to urban settlements. It shares its ecological niche competitively with the Cape
Clawless Otter (Aonyx capensis,LC), which was only found in Fish Hoek Valley.An estimated maximum of 12
individual Caracals (Caracal caracal, LC) roam the study area as the only remaining top predator, to prey on
rodents, birds, genets and small antelopes such as the Grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis,LC), which was less
abundant, but occurred throughout the study area. The recently reintroduced Klipspringer (Oreotragus
oreotragus,LC) was the only other antelope found, but occurred rarely. Three alien species were found in
small numbers, namely the Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis, LC), the Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus
jemlahicus, NT) and the Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor,VU). The two latter were claimed to be exterminated.
None of the once ubiquitous rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis,LC) could be found, indicating a dearth of the
Three biodiversity hotspots could be identified, accumulating 77% of the observed mammal wildlife on just
40% of the surface area:
Orange Kloof (a valley south of Table Mountain), Silvermine (a nature reserve at Constantiaberg),as well as
the Tokai pine plantation, which is inhabited by the Northern Cape Peninsula'slast Chacma Baboon troops
(Papio ursinus, LC). In summary, the studied area offers a stable ecosystem for a small range of terrestrial
medium- to large sized mammal species, but further conservation effort is necessary to increase the
connectivity of the sampled subsections.
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