Last year my supervisors and I worked hard on securing funding to get my samples tested for exposure to environmental pollutants. In June 2018 we were delighted to hear we got it! The Table Mountain Fund granted us the full funding for the testing... However, I still needed to arrange my own personal funding in … Continue reading Urban Caracal Project goes to Spain!
I'm excited to say that I've managed to get going on my third chapter's data collection! We're planning to use stable isotope analysis (SIA) to explore longer-term, integrative trends in Cape Peninsula caracal feeding ecology. Essentially what this means for me is that I'm spending a lot of time with minuscule pieces of hair (again). … Continue reading Starting that stable isotope stuff (finally)
It looks like I'll be working on urban caracals for a bit longer! As my project developed my supervisors and I made the decision, about 6 months ago, that it had the scope to be upgraded to a PhD. I knew I wanted to do my doctorate but I needed to decide whether I wanted … Continue reading The big ‘upgrade’
This year the South African Wildlife Management Association symposium was held in the Western Cape, at Goudini Spa in the Boland. This was great for the Urban Caracal Project, as it was a short drive from Cape Town. I presented some of the early diet results and spoke about some of the management implications. These … Continue reading SAWMA symposium 2017
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
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!