28 February 2012

Jackal At Suikerbosrand

Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve in the Gauteng province of South Africa

When I'm camera trapping at a new location I always check what animals might be present. One of the top animals on my wish list is the Black-Backed Jackal.

Black-Backed Jackal (Rooijakkals - Canis mesomelas) looking towards the camera

I'm not sure whether it is because they are (distantly) related to dogs, but there is just something I admire about them. Unfortunately not everybody feels the same way about them, but they manage to survive outside the large protected areas despite being persecuted extensively.

Zipping past the camera

Jackals are omnivores and eat a wide variety of food from young antelope and rodents to insects and wild fruit.

Strolling past the camera

All of the photographs I got of Jackal, in the short time camera trapping at Suikerbosrand, where at night. However, we did see one during the day when we went to collect the cameras. Jackal aren't strictly nocturnal and can be active during the day in areas where they are not disturbed by humans.

Another Jackal trotting past the camera

I'm not sure how many individuals I photographed, but I have a feeling there are quite a lot of them in the reserve. Some of the images seemed to be of younger individuals.

Youngster tip-toeing past the camera

Historically Black-Backed Jackal can be found throughout South Africa. They are still present in many parts of the country and I'm hoping to keep on running into them as I camera trap and visit other areas.

Youngster stepping into view

06 February 2012

More Herbivores At Suikerbosrand

A cloudy Suikerbosrand

A couple of other herbivores also visited the cameras over Christmas at Suikerbosrand. One of them was a familiar face, or was it...?

Blesbok (Blesbok - Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi) walking past the camera trap

These are Blesbok, close relatives of the Bontebok found in the south-west of the country and frequently photographed at Tygerberg (and regulars on this blog). For those of you wondering how to distinguish between Blesbok and Bontebok check out a previous post I did over here.

Another relative of the Blesbok, although not as close, is the Red Hartbeest. They have a similar build as the Blesbok, but have less striking colours.

Red Hartbeest (Rooihartbees - Alcelaphus buselaphus) a little to close to the camera

Strangely enough my best photographs of these guys were at night. Fortunately the Cuddeback Capture's photographs are particularly good at night (for a out-of-the-box commercial camera).

Not the best photograth ever, but at least you can see its face

The reserve is also home to some Plains Zebra. These guys have the normal colouration and not the Quagga-like pattern often seen in the south-western parts of South Africa.

Plains Zebra (Bontsebra - Equus quagga burchelli) at night at Suikerbosrand

One of the camera traps was placed on a well used zebra trail and got many images of them streaming past the Bushnell Trophy Cam trail camera.

If they were cyclist they would insist that traveling in single file reduces drag and is more energy efficient, they would also shave their legs and wear arguably the ugliest sports gear on earth, but lucky for us they are normal Zebra's and can't ride a bicycle

There is more to come from Suikerbosrand soon.

This filly was looking dreamily at the striped stallion heading her way

I have some cameras in the field again, so I'm hoping for some good results in about 3 week's time. The camera traps are in some thicket/wooded areas in the Eastern Cape, which present it's own set of challenges, but I'm hoping for the best :)