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Population management of rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) in residential areas

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  • As presented at the 9th European Vertebrate Pest Management Conference, 22–27 September 2013, Turku, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Frequent reports of rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) invasions in residential areas prompted an investigation of this problem in order to identify possible solutions. From these reports, problem areas in South Africa were identified, and sites within the Free State Province were selected for this study. At these sites, rock hyrax populations demonstrate an unusual annual increase. This increase has led to a food and habitat shortage, forcing individuals into residential areas in search of additional refuges and food sources. In order to manage populations, several preventive as well as control methods have been assessed and implemented. Population densities were determined using the Lincoln index and the Robson–Whitlock technique. Wild populations were included in the study for comparison purposes.

RESULTS

Additional resources within residential areas have facilitated populations to grow much larger, in some instances exceeding the natural limits (30–40 individuals) by 470%. This influx contributes to human–wildlife conflict. With the use of relocation, populations were reduced within 3 months.

DISCUSSION

Preventive methods have shown various levels of success. Specific combinations of these methods have proved to be more effective than others. The strategy of capture and relocation of individuals for rapid reduction in the population has been successful. Preliminary results show that the establishment of relocated populations is not successful owing to high predation rates. The reintroduction of natural predators for rock hyrax population control appears to have positive results, but this will have to be monitored on a regular basis. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry

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