The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) launched the 2016 Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland in December 2016. Each week, we’ll be bringing you new species assessments, and introducing you to our Mammal of the Week, based on this updated Red List.
This week’s mammal of the week is the Aardwolf. Its name has been borrowed from Afrikaans, which means earth-wolf, a reference to it living in holes in the ground, called dens. This carnivore is an elusive species, and as such, not many people have seen it or even know of its existence. Aardwolves are distributed throughout South Africa and are not confined to protected areas. As such, they face numerous threats including roadkill and persecution. While they are often persecuted on farms for being poultry thieves, they are actually insectivorous – only feeding on termites. In one night, an adult Aardwolf can eat up to 1.2 kg of termites. Very little is known about the exact population size of this species, but it expected to be stable (neither increasing nor decreasing) and is therefore listed as Least Concern.
For more information visit https://www.ewt.org.za/Reddata/reddata.html
The 2016 Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland was funded via the South African National Biodiversity Institute (through a grant by the Norwegian Government that aims to build capacity in the southern Africa region for undertaking assessments), the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Department of Environmental Affairs, E Oppenheimer & Son and De Beers Group of Companies.