n African Journal of Wildlife Research - Using camera traps to generate a species inventory for medium-sized and large mammals in South West Zimbabwe - research article

Volume 49 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200



We investigated the presence of medium-sized and large mammals utilizing by-catch data from a camera trapping survey in the Mangwe District in South West Zimbabwe, an unprotected commercial livestock farming area which is impacted by human encroachment, poaching and trophy hunting. The camera trapping survey was carried out from 23 October to 5 December 2009, covered an area of 200 km2 and was initially intended to estimate the population density of leopards (Panthera pardus). The study area was split into two contiguous subsections, with each section sampled for a total of 20 days using 20 cameras. Camera trap photographs were identified to species level, then compared to a list of species thought to occur in the area according to available literature, as well as sightings from professional hunters and local landowners. Twenty-seven out of 38 medium-sized and large mammals thought to occur in the area were photographed.After 26 survey days (day six in section two), all ungulate species present in the area were photographed. However, the more elusive and less common carnivore species were not all recorded during the study. Both spotted (Crocuta crocuta) and brown hyaenas (Parahyaena brunnea) were once thought to be locally extinct or transient in the area but our results demonstrate that they may now be resident. Species inventories are useful to record species presence, particularly in data-poor areas where limited information exists. In areas where trophy hunting and poaching are high, like the Mangwe District, such information is critical to carefully monitor populations and allow for assessment of future management interventions.

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