oa Koedoe : African Protected Area Conservation and Science - Assessments of occurrence and distribution of mammals in forests of the Garden Route National Park based on camera trapping : short communication
Eleven mammal census sites were selected in four different Afrotemperate Forest types in the Garden Route National Park, South Africa. At each site, an array of eight camera traps was deployed along trails for between 28 and 45 days. Based on accumulation curves, this was generally sufficient for recording most of the focal mammal species at each site. Only 12 mammal (≥ 1 kg) species were recorded, two of which were primarily wetland species. The most widely captured taxa were bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus (all 11 sites); and caracal, Caracal caracal (10 sites). The most frequently photographed species were bushbuck (40%) and chacma baboon, Papio ursinus (22%). The number of species and total capture rates did not differ (P > 0.10) between dry (scrub and high) forests and moist (medium-moist to wet) forests, or between small ((< 41 km2) forests and a large forest complex. However, at species level, the capture rates of caracal and vervet monkey, Chlorocebus pygerythus; were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.05) in the large forest complex than in small forests, whilst those of bushpig, Potamochoerus larvatus; were higher. Trapping cycles of between 28 and 45 days, which recorded the highest number of threatened and protected South African species, were from small forests.
Conservation implications: The role of small forests in the conservation of mammals in the Garden Route National Park should be investigated further, because relatively high numbers of threatened and protected South African mammal species were recorded in these locations.
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