28 June 2010

Six Months At Tygerberg

I thought I'll include some more flowers to brighten up this post a bit

It has been about 6 months since I started camera trapping at Tygerberg Nature Reserve. I started there not knowing what to expect. To be honest I wasn't expecting much more than a mongoose or two and some Bontebok. However, I'm very happy to say that I have been pleasantly surprised.

Below are some statistics from the first 6 months. I did a similar report a while ago so please take note that there might be some slight differences in the numbers (I cleaned up a few uncertain records and only included camera trapping data this time around).

Species list of Tygerberg based on my camera trapping data

In general I try to keep my cameras almost constantly in the field. I started with two cameras, but earlier this month I got two more. I think 45 creatures in 6 months is pretty good. I'm also happy with the 18 mammals photo graphed thus far, especially since some "easier" larger mammals are not present on this small reserve.

Some tiny flowers growing next to the road

The management of Tygerberg has also benefited greatly from this. I have managed to provide up to date confirmations of many "previously known" species and even added a few "new" species, some of them even outside their previously known ranges. It has been great having their thanks and support from day one.

Accumulation graph for all species

My species list have continued to grow steadily and I'm sure there are still a couple of mammal species out there to discover. I got a couple of photographs of species not listed above, but unfortunately the quality is to bad to make a positive identification, so I had to exclude them from my data.

Accumulation graph for mammals only

The two sites with the richest diversity of mammals where both near water (one near the pond and the other across a small stream). There are still many areas I haven't visited yet. I have only trapped at two locations on the western slopes. The reason for this is that I purposefully focused on the more grassy eastern slopes at first, and that the western slope is mostly covered by dense bushy vegetation making it difficult to find a good (open) location for a camera.

A big piece of neighbouring land will be included under the management of the reserve soon and this will greatly increase my available camera trapping area. This is great news for all the critters (plants and animals) and will provide some much needed (protected) breathing space for them. Tygerberg is one of the last remnants of Swartland Shale Renosterveld and is surrounded by urban development to the east, south and west. To the north it is bordered by mostly wheat (I think) and wine farms.

Map showing camera trap locations at Tygerberg

Although camera trapping at Tygerberg can be somewhat "less glamorous" than other places with more large mammals I enjoy the smaller beasts just as much. I'm also able to contribute to the conservation of the plants and animals living there. Before I started camera trapping there nobody really knew how many small animals still manage to scrape together a living on the slopes of Tygerberg hills and the cameras have helped to reveal a bit of their world.

Surprisingly I'm still not bored with Tygerberg, so I'm looking forward to the next couple of months at the reserve and maybe I'll finally get a (better) glimpse of a Cape Fox or Bat-Eared Fox... :)

A tiny grasshopper on a flower


  1. Seeing that aerial photograph surprises me how much developement there is around the reserve. Good for you, doing so much to increase the knowlege of Tygerburg's fauna. I visited SA last jan. and feb. but did'nt get by Tygerburg.

  2. Hi John.

    When I started camera trapping at Tygerberg I thought that the nature reserve stretched across the entire hill, but in fact only half of it is currently protected (with an extra third or so coming under the management of the reserve soon).

    Cape Town has lost/destroyed an incredible amount of biodiversity in the past and present. I think we'll make more progress by calling the glass "one-fifth-full" and not "four-fifths-empty" :) More habitat will be lost (throughout the world), that is a fact, but hopefully we can save some areas that are still somewhat in tact to protect and enjoy in the future. Luckily for us Tygerberg has managed to survive (to some extent) and there is still room for even more growth.