24 May 2014

Going Nuclear

The past few months I've been sharing a lot of camera trap results from Koeberg Nature Reserve on this blog. Most of you might not be aware of this, but the reserve actually encircles a nuclear power plant...

A radio-active Eland (Eland - Tragelaphus oryx) at Koeberg

Not only is Koeberg the only nuclear power plant in South Africa, but apparently it is also the only one on the continent.

I've heard rumors about not being allowed to take photographs of the building (for "safety reasons"), but I'll take my chances and post these photographs nonetheless. I'm sure it will be fine. You can't even make out any details of the structure. It's also easy enough to find much better photos of the buildings online, even from the official website. (If my next blog post comes to you from a jail cell, then at least you will know why.)

Caracal (Rooikat - Caracal caracal) heading "towards the light"

The lights in the background are the spotlights from the power station.

Most of the land along the coastline has been lost to development or invasive aliens, and thanks to the power plant this small nature reserve now plays an important part in protecting the unique vegetation found along the West coast.

Caracal are quite common in the reserve and my latest batch of trail camera images contained this tantalizing photograph.

A Caracal at work

The photograph above shows a Caracal, on the left, stalking a Cape Gerbil. You can see the Gerbil's eye reflecting on the right, the white dot. Unfortunately the camera trap didn't capture another photograph to show what happened.

As a consolation prize I can give you a better view of a Cape Gerbil. I photographed this individual, below, a few month earlier, about 150m from where the above photo was taken.

Cape Gerbil (Kaapse Springmuis - Tatera afra) coming out of its burrow

And this fellow more recently, about 200m yonder.

The Cape Gerbil are common on the open grassy sections of the reserve


  1. I love the photo of the Caracal facing the power plant. The last gerbil photo is also quite nice.

  2. Wow, what a treat. Great shots.

    Seems the mix of danger and protected habitat has a few forms.

    Early in my career I learned that the military frequently has some of the BEST habitat around 'cause they have buried missiles, firing ranges, & armed patrolling guards at night, etc. John Q. Public is NOT allowed. And John Q. Public includes developers. =) Hooray!

  3. Thanks guys.

    @Biobabbler: Yes, the extend to which wildlife has been pushed out of their natural areas (worldwide) is very sad, but at least the glass is somewhat full (although not nearly half). Most species can still scratch out a living in the areas that are deemed less idea for human development. We few nature lovers out there should cherish these little gems that remain, while it remains.