Scientists study serval cats at Sasol


Two film crews from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) visited Secunda for a few weeks to film the serval population at Sasol, specifically at the Secunda Synfuels Operations.
Their objectives are to capture the servals’ behaviour in their natural environment and to film the research activities.
Several other organisations and scientists joined Daan Loock, primary researcher, to capture the cats and collect biological data to continue their quest in understanding these apex predators.
According to Daan, the population found at Sasol is the highest recorded so far.
The only other large population of serval cats scientifically described is at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
“According to our research, there are 76 cats per 100km² at Sasol (unpublished) and in the Ngorongoro Crater there are 20-30 serval cats per 100km².”
The research project began in 2013 and some of the important objectives were to understand the demography of the species in order to evaluate the potential risks and sustainability of the species.
“The capturing of the serval will primarily be to collect new data and to fit satellite collars,” said Daan.
“The weather conditions the last week and a half made it difficult to catch the serval cats and the cats we caught were less than last year.”
However good progress has been made by the research team and some work has already been published.


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