The last few weeks have been spent preparing samples for further identification by bone. This involved carefully sorting through each cleaned and dried scat sample to pick out the hard bits (i.e. bones, teeth, claws and nails) and package them separately. This makes it easier for comparison to reference skeletal material. Next, I decided to … Continue reading “Oh look, another cape cormorant”: some trips to the museum
First, to introduce the main cat characters. Protea is one of the adult female caracals and the 24th cat to be captured on the Urban Caracal Project. Her territory stretches along the white, sandy beaches on the wild, west coast from the Cape of Good Hope lighthouse through to Kommetjie, which she uses as a … Continue reading Two killer kitties’ favourite snacks
The scat washing is now complete! This means that each and every scat found in the field has been scraped for DNA, aged, weighed, bagged, colour-coded, soaked, sieved under water, separated into constituent parts, dried, bones and teeth separated and, finally, packeted and labelled. Along this production line the prey items in the scat are … Continue reading Project milestone
I've been doing oil painting for about a year now and this was the first time I painted just for the sake of it, as all my previous works have been commissions. I took Visual Arts in Matric, but quickly moved away from acrylic to ink and mixed-media works, and only recently discovered painting in … Continue reading Caracal necropsy paintings
Ongoing student protests at UCT have really slowed things down, as many of my student volunteers have been unable to come to campus. It has been a very tumultuous time, with anxiety levels high. As a result I have not managed to process many samples. Nevertheless, there have been a few interesting ones! One of … Continue reading A few more caracal lunches, and some mystery claws!
This project has challenged me in many ways so far, not least because I took it on so late in the year. I feel under constant time pressure with so much to catch up on and get done. Thankfully, I have a team of wonderful student volunteers who are passionate about carnivore biology and conservation! … Continue reading Appreciation post
I was fortunate enough to attend the annual South African Wildlife Management Association symposium in Tzaneen, Limpopo last week. I presented some of the preliminary findings on the Cape Town caracals' diet, focusing on the differences between two methods (kills found at GPS clusters and scat). We had to make a poster and also give … Continue reading SAWMA symposium 2016