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West Coast NP: ANIMALS

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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WestCoaster
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West Coast NP: ANIMALS

Unread postby WestCoaster » Wed Jul 27, 2005 6:49 am

As most of you now know, my SANParks focus is on the West Coast National Park near Langebaan. I saw on another thread yesterday that some posters were green with envy because someone saw an African Wild Cat.

We have probably the highest population per hectare of African Wild Cat as well as Caracal in our Park. These very special smaller cats do not compete with lion, leopard or cheetah for prey and are therefore not as elusive as they might be where the competition is fierce. There are certain places where, if you keep your wits about you, you are almost guarenteed a sighting. Best times are latish afternoons or early mornings, although it's not uncommon to see either of these species at midday.

We also boast healthy populations of Bat Eared Fox and Cape Fox in our Park. These also have their preferred habitat, preferring open plains where scattered shrubs provide speedy access to cover if required. These foxes have even been spotted on our beaches!
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Oumie
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Caracal

Unread postby Oumie » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:53 am

WestCoaster Quoted:
Caracal in our Park


I have seen a Caracal outside the park ( last year crossing )over the main road going to Atlantis side. Had him/her on the road for 5min staring at my car (no other cars in sight) :!: then strolled off into the direction of Atlantis :D
Storms river 11/10/15 - 12/10/15
Addo 13/10/15 - 15/10/15
mountain Zebra 16/10/15 - 18/10/15
Camdeboo 19/10/15 - 20/10/15

Reservation made for April and May and June 8)

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:55 pm

In March 2002, I had my only ever sighting of Caracal, as you say, in WCNP at about 18H00 two juveniles ran across the road in front of our car. Mercifully, those short-cutters from Langebaan who speed through, gave us a gap, and so we had it to ourselves instead of possible road kill
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Unread postby WestCoaster » Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:48 pm

Our Park is now the proud owner of a speed radar gun and have trained the permanent rangers in the use thereof. We made up the cost of the radar in the first week of operation!

Protect our wildlife for they have no voice.
Almost everything comes from almost nothing.



Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

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caracal

Unread postby wildjohn » Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:19 pm

They are fairly common there, a density from a study reports some 1 caracal 2.8 sq. kilometers.

Great sighting !

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west coast

Unread postby wildjohn » Thu Jul 28, 2005 12:28 pm

Hi there,

Yes, I have searched the West Coast for caracals, guess you need luck and spend more time there. I still have unfinished business there ..

By the way, a caracal study there estimated a density of 1 caracal per 280 ha - one can then get idea on total numbers in park then. I can send that reference if people want it - Avenant et al.

w

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Unread postby WestCoaster » Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:11 pm

I'd love to see it please, wildjohn.

Caracals density will be higher in the Park as there are no angry farmers protecting their sheep like there are everywhere else up the West Coast! I have noticed so many kittens in the last 2 years, I really wouldn't be surprised if 280/ha is way out of date - at least on the Reserve.

I look forward to that reference please...
Almost everything comes from almost nothing.



Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

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cats

Unread postby wildjohn » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:26 pm

I will post that info. on the forum. It isnt electronic so it will have to be found - the whole one that is. The okes that did the work were from Stellenbosch - so that uni should have the article and journal.

wj

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Caracal population of the West Coast

Unread postby wildjohn » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:53 pm

Male caracal home ranges - c. 27 sq. km, and females - c. 7-8 sq km. That sample was from 2 male and 3 females radio-tarcked for one year. The estimated density was one caracal / 213 - 435 ha. Mean litter sizes - 2.2 (4 litters). The Postberg area (c. 3, 000 ha) was thought to be inhabited by between 7 - 14 caracals during that study period. Caracal were more often located on the lower third of hill slopes (moreover hill tops etc.).
Favoured plant communities - Atriplex-Zygophylum Dwarf shrubland, Ehrharta-Maurocenia Hillside Dense shrubland and Nenax-Maytenus-Zygophylum evergreen shrubland. All those habitats had high rodent biomasses and cover.
West coaster- you may be only one familiar with those habitats. I havent a clue what they look like !

Caracals were active day and night - activity was effected more by temperature and not photoperiod. Caracals were very active on nights colder than 20 deg C. Females ceasing activity > 20 deg C, and males > 22 deg C. Males moved twice the distance that females did.

Reference: Avenant, N.L. & Nel, J.A.J. 1998. Home-range use, activity, and density of caracal in relation to prey density. African Journal of Ecology, 36, 321 - 359.

Regards,

w

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Unread postby WestCoaster » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:57 am

Thanks so much, wildjohn.

I have sent it via email to our Honorary Rangers and Park staff.

It is a very interesting study. The shrubland referred to is typical West Coast fynbos, typified by clumps of low bush with gressy alleys inbetween. Any bush on the WC higher than 2m is invariably an alien invader. The rodent population is typified by the very common dune rat which turns the aptly-named Muisbos into a 3-dimensional housing estate, protecting the rats from the ravages of hawks by the evil and sharp thorns that the shrub presents. They also eat the succulent leaves.
Almost everything comes from almost nothing.



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Unread postby MarkWildDog » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:26 pm

I live in big bay our complex is bordering a nature reserve and I built a nature trail where I do guided bush walks for the public
I have seen Caracal once :!: A male , in the late afternoon

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Unread postby gwendolen » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:39 pm

MARK CHOWLES wrote:I live in big bay our complex is bordering a nature reserve and I built a nature trail where I do guided bush walks for the public
I have seen Caracal once :!: A male , in the late afternoon

:thumbs_up: Mark, that's quite an achievement for a 13 year old.

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Unread postby MarkWildDog » Sun Mar 26, 2006 2:52 pm

Thanks :D

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Unread postby nunu » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:26 pm

I saw a caracal recently at about 23h00 walking on the side of the road between Veldrif and Vredenberg just after the St Helena Bay turn-off. He was an absolute beaut. Have also seen one on the Military Base in Saldanha shortly after sunrise. When I first came to the West Coast some 10 year ago I was astonished and dissapointed by the open and frank admission of some local farmers that they shoot caracals on site.

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reptile population on the west coast

Unread postby nunu » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:36 pm

Have those of you who live around these parts also noticed a decline in our reptile population. Habitat shrinkage thanks to massive development is a concern. I am specifically refering to cobras, mole snakes and tortoises. I just seem to see less and less every year. Af anyone has got stats I would be seriously interested to see them.


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