Mammal Species Richness at a Catena and Nearby Waterholes during a Drought, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Catenas are undulating hillslopes on a granite geology characterised by different soil types that create an environmental gradient from crest to bottom. The main aim was to determine mammal species (>mongoose) present on one catenal slope and its waterholes and group them by feeding guild and body size. Species richness was highest at waterholes (21 species), followed by midslope (19) and sodic patch (16) on the catena. Small differences observed in species presence between zones and waterholes and between survey periods were not significant (p = 0.5267 and p = 0.9139). In total, 33 species were observed with camera traps: 18 herbivore species, 10 carnivores, two insectivores and three omnivores. Eight small mammal species, two dwarf antelopes, 11 medium, six large and six mega-sized mammals were observed. Some species might not have been recorded because
of drought, seasonal movement or because they travelled outside the view of cameras. Mammal presence is determined by food availability and accessibility, space, competition, distance to water, habitat preferences, predators, body size, social behaviour, bound to territories, etc. The variety in body size and feeding guilds possibly indicates a functioning catenal ecosystem. This knowledge can be beneficial in monitoring and conservation of species in the park.

Publish DateSeptember 2, 2021
Last UpdatedSeptember 2, 2021