The past week has seen me back at the Iziko South African museum in Company's Garden in town. It was a rat-run, pun intended. In my previous trips I was working with Graham Avery on identifying bird and larger mammal bones. This time around I met with his wife, Margaret Avery, who is an expert on … Continue reading Of mice and museums
I've been sorting out the caracal kills database over the last few weeks, filling in missing information and looking through photos of kills that never made it to the freezer for closer inspection. It can be tricky identifying a half-eaten prey item when you have it right in front of you, but this becomes much more … Continue reading When predator becomes urban caracal prey
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
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!
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
Here are a few of the more interesting prey items found in the scat analysis so far. Most of the samples contain mammalian prey items (i.e. composed mainly of hair), and of those, most seem to be rodent. I still need to go through all those with hair and look at cross-sections under the microscope to … Continue reading Some (very) preliminary findings