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Category

Mammalogy

Category

The Free State Province hosts a fairly large diversity of mammal predator species (≈ carnivores).  Thirty-nine of our 103 indigenous mammal species can be defined as carnivores. While 19 of these species belong to the order Carnivora, 20 other species are also considered to be carnivores, belonging to the orders Tubulidentata (the Aardvark, which is a specialist ant and termite feeder), Macroscelidea (the Eastern rock sengi or elephant shrew; eats insects and other invertebrates, but also some plant material), Eulipotyphla (including six shrew and one hedgehog species; they eat mostly insects, but also earthworms,

Dr Nico Avenant, mammologist at the National Museum, Bloemfontein, was recently approached to identify two hedgehogs which were allegedly purchased from a pet shop.

The new owners became concerned when they learnt that it is illegal to have hedgehogs in captivity without a permit and took them to the offices of the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) in Bloemfontein.

Florisbad Quaternary Research Station’s Dr Daryl Codron is one of the authors on a paper that presents a mathematical solution which predicts predator kill frequency. The research station is one of the satellites of the National Museum.

Carnivores, unlike herbivores, typically remove whole individuals from prey populations, and so can have enormous effects on prey populations and whole ecosystems. Mammalian carnivores can be divided into those that eat small prey items (invertebrates, reptiles, birds, and small mammals) and those that eat larger prey (large rodents, lagomorphs and antelope).

Jean J. de Klerk1 & Nico L. Avenant1,2

1Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa jacques.deklerk@stenden.ac.za

2*Department of Mammalogy, National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa navenant@nasmus.co.za

*Corresponding Author: navenant@nasmus.co.za

Suider-Afrika se Grasveldbioom, wat die grootste deel van die Vrystaat en die hele Lesotho insluit, beslaan ongeveer 28.4% van Suid-Afrika se totale oppervlakte.  Naas die unieke Kaapse Fynbosbioom, is dit die rykste aan organismes.  Dit sluit onder andere in ongeveer 3 370 plantspesies, 45% van Suid-Afrika se endemiese soogdierspesies, 10 globaal-bedreigde voëlspesies, 43% van ons Belangrike Voëlareas (Important Bird Areas) en etlike endemiese visspesies in die 42 rivier-ekosisteme.