Bounteous biodiversity in Kyalami- 22 August 2014

Bounteous biodiversity in Kyalami

KYALAMI – A year’s worth of images from a camera trap in the Greater Kyalami Conservancy (Gekco) reveals that the area is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

This despite the urbanisation that destroys habitats and threatens the survival of local fauna and flora.

This Slender Mongoose was captured on one of the camera traps in the GEKCO Conservancy. Photo courtesy of Wits APES department and Tyrone Mckendry.

This Slender Mongoose was captured on one of the camera traps in the GEKCO Conservancy. Photo courtesy of Wits APES department and Tyrone Mckendry.

Tyrone Mckendry of the Gekco committee was approached by a resident offering to loan his camera trap to the conservancy.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Mckendry. “I couldn’t wait to find out what species were frequenting the area.”

Images soon streamed in from the unmanned camera, which photographs anything that triggers it, providing images of rarely seen animals, out and about at the most unsociable hours. The conservancy proves to home to many elusive species, including black-backed jackal, Cape porcupine, large-spotted genet, South African hedgehog, slender mongoose, and scrub hare. Many appear regularly in the camera’s eye.

Mckendry is exhilarated by what may be an African wild cat, caught in blurry action as it streaked across the camera’s field of view. While the image is not clear enough to identify the feline definitively, Mckendry hopes the cat will return for a clearer shot.

As part of his Honours of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, Mckendry is researching the effect of disturbance on small mammal populations in the conservancy, and to assess the importance of riparian corridors or wetlands to their survival.

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