What is BushCam Adventures?

BushCam Adventures attempts to share some of the amazing images, stories and insights that I've collected during my camera-trapping adventures.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Our Rarest Rabbit

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.......

Success! The distinguishing line on the jaw, white ring around the eyes and and a lack of any white on the tail left no doubt that we had a Riverine Rabbit. And over the next few days we got more...............

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.


  1. Wow, great stuff!
    That African Wild Cat and Riverine Rabbit at dawn came out pretty well, what camera did you use?

  2. Thanks Henry. The first two rabbit pics (incl. the flash shot)were with my Cuddeback Attack and the rest of the pics were taken with a basic Bushnell.

  3. How are you liking the Cuddeback Attack? I heard mixed reviews early on....

    That wildcat pic is incredible. I didn't know you guys had a wild feline over there that was smaller than the caracal.....

  4. I'm not a huge fan of the Attack. While I've had some good photos I sense that I've missed a lot. I also had one that continually gave me a purple haze over the images. The Cuddeback service guys couldn't help and didn't seem interested. I guess I could have sent the unit back to the U.S. but the shipping costs from here are crazy and there was no certainty that the unit would get fixed or replaced. So I will continue to use the Attack that I have but probably won't buy any more. Having said that, I would like to find an incandescent camera with the reliability of the Bushnells. The Scoutguard SG565 seems to work fine but I don't think the picture quality is as good as the Cuddeback.

    The African Wild Cat is very widely distributed through Southern Africa and seen pretty often. However its not our smallest cat. That honour goes to the Small Spotted Cat - (Felis nigripes)- sometimes called the Black-footed Cat. It has a mass of only 1.0 to 2.0 kg. I have never seen one so its definitely on my wish list.

    1. Sorry for chipping in, but I thought I might as well share my 2c. I own only one Cuddeback Attack, but I won't be buying any more. The "genius mount" (or whatever) is terrible! The image quality is inferior to the Cuddeback Capture's especially while flashing. I did a "recommended" software update, but now the menu is messed up (and "all went well" during he update). I might buy another Capture (the one I have is awesome), but I'm thinking of giving the Birdcam 2.0 a shot instead, it seems interesting, but the manual focus is a little weird. (Has anybody out there used a BirdCam 2.0 before?)

      All-in-all it seems we are all wishing/waiting for a good and cheap white flash camera to come along...

    2. For more info on the small cats go to www.catsforafrica.co.za
      Great pics! So difficult to get pics of cats in their natural habitat.

  5. Thanks Henry. I totally agree about the "genius mount". Mine are both broken! I also agree about the Cuddy Capture - it takes great pics.

    I don't know the BirdCam 2.0 at all but will dig around. I've also read that Reconyx will be launching a cam that takes colour photos at night using a bank of white LEDs. Just a pity one needs an extra mortgage to buy a Reconyx.

  6. Ah, yes! Forgot about F. nigripes....I'd actually heard of that species before, now that I think about it...never heard of the African Wildcat. Very cool pictures. All of my "cat" pictures are nothing but the feral-domestic variety.

    Anyways....this is about on-par with what I've heard about the Attack. If I remember correctly, it also takes D-cell batteries and that's automatically a no-go for me. I need to be able to use the lithium AAs....they last forever.

    Cuddeback's advantage has always been a quick trigger time (the thing that drives me nuts about my 2009 Bushnell Trophy cams is that the trigger is slower than advertised....and I know it misses things that go by fast). But Cuddeback might be off of my list for a while now. The battery issue and the fact that you guys represent even more folks that I've heard bad things about their customer service/return policy from.....coupled with the bad reviews of the Attack....

    I've greatly enjoyed my Capture, but if this Attack is the best they can offer after all this time (the Capture has been out for years).....it doesn't fill me with confidence about future products from Cuddeback.

    currently, I'm using Ltl. Acorns, and I'm pretty happy. Better trigger times then my old Trophy Cams (most of which I had to replace recently)....much better features....and better features than the cuddebacks, all for about the same price. They are an IR camera at night...so no white flash pictures, though.

    BTW....I think Joe over at Massanutten Game Trails uses that Scoutguard......he could probably give you some feedback on it.