Drylands Conservation Programme
Population Demography Research
Determining population densities and trends, however, requires a whole different approach. In March 2012, the RRP initiated a study into the application of camera traps to determine Riverine Rabbit densities. Camera traps have been used extensively on other species, primarily patterned carnivores, but not extensively on Lagomorphs. Please see our NEWS page for more information.
RIVERINE RABBIT POPULATION DEMOGRAPHY RESEARCH
The Riverine Rabbit’s small size and nocturnal behaviour, coupled with the fact that it occurs in dense vegetation with low visibility, represents a unique challenge to biologists and conservationists working on this species. Studies done previously estimated that there are about 500 to 1400 individuals left in the wild; however, exact figures for Riverine Rabbit populations are not available. The current Riverine Rabbit distribution range is based on the results of surveys carried out on foot in cooperation with relevant provincial conservation authorities. The distribution data base also includes ad hoc sightings data on farms and from the general public.
Determining population densities and trends, however, requires a whole different approach. Therefore in March 2012, the EWT-DCP initiated a study into the application of camera traps to determine Riverine Rabbit presence. As these camera traps showed surprising success in detecting Riverine Rabbits, we raised funds for 30 camera traps and a student from the University of Cape Town is currently developing a protocol for a scientific census technique for this rare and elusive species. This will add tremendous value to informing our conservation strategies for the species. Please see our NEWS page for more information.