I was privileged to spend a few days last week with members of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Riverine Rabbit Programme. For those of you that don't know, the Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) is one of our rarest mammals and is listed in the Red Data book as "critically endangered". The number of remaining rabbits is not known but is no more than a few thousand, and possibly less. I won't attempt to describe what great work both the Endangered Wildlife Trust and their Riverine Rabbit Programme do, but would urge you to look at their website or the Riverine Rabbit Programme page.
With the rabbits being nocturnal the researchers don't see these rabbits often so I offered to take some cameras into likely riverine habitats to see what we could find. I wasn't encouraged by what I initially saw: thick chest-high scrub with very few clearings. Not the easiest place to set up cameras. Nevertheless we used the few small clearings that we could find and also set some up some cameras along the farm road. The first night didn't produce anything interesting but then.......
Everyone was hugely excited. Not only that we'd obtained these rare images but also that many of them were obtained at dawn - indicating that that these guys were also crepuscular.
The cameras also picked up the following carnivores:
A caracal (Caracal caracal), likely to be one of the major predators of the rabbit.
African Wild Cat (Felis silvestris lybica). Its not known whether this cat would take an adult rabbit but presumably the young rabbits would be very vulnerable.
So, a succesful few days!
Many thanks to Christy Bragg and the other EWT staff for allowing me to be part of this great project.