Serval back in South Africa


This video is called Wild African Serval.

From Wildlife Extra:

Re-introducing serval to the Eastern Cape

One of Africa’s ten indigenous wild cats roaming again in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

April 2013. Although widely distributed south of the Sahara, the serval became extinct in the Cape provinces of South Africa over the last century mainly due to habitat loss, hunting and poaching. Recently however private game reserves in the Eastern Cape have begun re-introducing the species in the hopes of contributing to the eventual re-establishment of these wild cats in the region.

10 indigenous wild cats in Africa

The serval is one of ten indigenous wild cats found in Africa. Only three other small wild cats are found in South Africa, namely the caracal, African wild cat, and the black-footed cat. The other three species, the sand cat, golden cat and jungle cat are found in limited areas in north and central Africa. The remaining big cats of Africa, lion, leopard and cheetah, receive much more attention than their smaller cousins.

The serval is a medium sized cat that can weigh up to 20kg. They have particularly long legs that help them to jump up to three metres and they have been seen to catch birds in flight. They also have large ears giving them excellent hearing and enabling them to detect prey moving underground.

Land use changes good for wild cats and predators

The Eastern Cape area was once dominated by stock farming, but recent decades have seen an increase in private game reserves. This is good news for predators such as jackal, caracal and even leopard, which are hunted and killed for the threat they pose to livestock. In the case of the serval, it was wiped completely from the area, but as private game reserves grow so does their capacity to re-introduce indigenous wildlife to the area.

Servals at Kariega Game Reserve

Kariega Game Reserve is one of the private game reserves in the region that recently released four servals – two male, two female. The Kariega servals were bred by the Cat Conservation Trust, an organisation specialising in the conservation of South Africa’s four small wild cat species – serval, caracal, black-footed cat and wild African cat. Before release on Kariega, the young servals were transferred to a boma enclosure in order to allow them to adapt to their new surroundings; they were also fitted with tracking collars for effective monitoring. The two males have since been released and the females will soon follow when they are big and old enough.

Reintroducing servals to game parks across the Eastern Cape

A number of other private game reserves in the Eastern Cape have also implemented serval reintroduction programs, including Shamwari Game Reserve and the Great Fish River Reserve. Research shows that the Eastern Cape is still a suitable habitat for the serval, and with the co-operation of neighbouring farms, land and game reserve owners, there is no reason why re-introduction won’t be successful. Shamwari has even reported that although it is difficult to tell exact numbers, guests on safari have occasionally spotted kittens.

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4 thoughts on “Serval back in South Africa

  1. Pingback: Postcard: A Surprising Serval Cat | The Insatiable Traveler

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