Wild Cat Conservation at Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa
Following the release of two male servals onto Kariega Game Reserve South Africa, we were excited to have recently acquired two females – Hope and Artemis. The gorgeous young pair is settling in well at Kariega in their new boma enclosure and will be fit for release on the game park just as soon as they are big enough.
Hope, featured on the left, considers the camera curiously.
History of servals on game parks in the Eastern Cape
Servals are one of South Africa’s indigenous wild cat species, but being one of the smaller cats they are often overlooked. While they were once found across the Eastern Cape, they were wiped from the area over the last century due to human habitation, stock farming and hunting. Kariega Game Reserve is very excited about the four servals brought onto the reserve so far, and we are looking forward to the possibility of successfully re-establishing servals to the Eastern Cape landscape.
Artemis and Hope on Kariega Game Reserve South Africa
The female pair arrived safe and sound, and in good condition in early March. They were a little nervous to start with but have settled down nicely and seem to be handling their new surroundings well. They have been eating well and prove to be quite playful when they get their meals.
Both the two males and the two females were brought in from the Cat Conservation Trust, and while the males (Killian and Kelpie) were released some months ago, Hope and Artemis (pictured right) are a little too young to be released just yet.
Before release Hope and Artemis will be fitted with tracking collars for monitoring and locating purposes. Kariega Operations Manager, Jason Loest commented, “Both are still young animals and cannot be collared until they are of a sufficient size. Artemis is significantly smaller than Hope and will still need to grow out somewhat before we can collar her. We will have to keep the smaller one in the boma for some time before she will be ready for a collar and will have to make a call on whether we keep both together until release or release the bigger one when she is ready and the smaller one at a later stage.”
Below Hope (featured left) and Artemis (featured right).
Interesting facts about the wild African Serval
- The serval (Leptailurus serval) is one of seven wild cats that can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. The other smaller wild cats include caracal, African wild cat and the black-footed cat. The remaining larger cats include lion, leopard and cheetah.
- The serval is considered a medium sized cat, with large males weighing up to 20kg.
- Relative to body size, the serval has the longest legs of all cats helping them to leap around 3 metres to grab a bird in flight, and reach speeds of 80km/h.
- Servals also have the largest ears relative to body size giving them exceptional hearing abilities that can even detect underground prey.
- Servals are efficient killers, with a 50% success rate on hunts as opposed to 30% for lions.
- Servals exhibit a number of interesting hunting techniques. They will sometimes dig burrows in search of prey, and also have an impressive jumping technique allowing them to leap 3m in the air from a stationary position, grab and then kill/stun prey upon hitting the ground.
- Kariega is a private game park in the Eastern Cape offering guests luxurious accommodation and world class African safaris.
- In 2012 Kariega received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award for outstanding traveller reviews.
- Kariega has been family owned and run since 1989, offering guests a warm and welcoming experience on their African adventure.