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Monday, 16 July 2012

D is for Duiker

CCF has carried out a number of camera trapping surveys, and also maintains a network of cameras positioned for ongoing monitoring of the wildlife on our land.  While we are mainly focused on cheetahs, there are many other species out there, and the cameras will trigger no matter what passes them by.  In this series of weekly blog entries, I will use these pictures to illustrate some of the wealth of animal life in Namibia - one species per week.  I hope you will enjoy seeing a little more of our world here in the bush.


The common (or grey) duiker is one of the most numerous and widespread antelopes in Africa. It can be found in 37 countries from Senegal to South Africa, and numbers in the millions. As a result, the IUCN lists them as "Least Concern" and anticipates little or no change in their distribution for the foreseeable future.  Here at CCF w''ve found that they are commonly confused with the slightly smaller and lighter steenbok - especially in camera trap photos.  They nonetheless are quite distinctive when seen in the wild, standing just 60cm (23") at the shoulder and weighing up to 16 kg (35 lbs).


Generally nocturnal, the common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia) eats a wide variety of food including grasses, roots, fruit, seeds, human cultivated crops, and even sometimes insects. The English name derives from the Afrikaans word for "diver", so named because of the distinctive diving motion of the species when fleeing from danger.


In most cases only the males have horns, although the females are usually slightly heavier. Both males and females have a “mohawk” on their heads too. Pairs of duikers mate for life, unless one partner is killed, in which case they will seek another.  In captivity they live for up to 12-15 years.


Since duikers tend to sleep during the day, we don't see very many of them here at CCF, and even our camera trap network only snaps a few of them.  This is more likely to simply mean the cameras are not ideally placed for this type of animal however, than that their numbers are low.


Stay tuned for another camera trapping animal of week next week!


Rob Thomson


Cheetah Conservation Fund


All photos copyright (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund 2012

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