Riverine rabbit spotted!

The riverine rabbit, restricted mainly to the Karoo and one of the country’s most threatened mammals, was spotted in October 2006 in the Conservancy!

The sighting astonished and delighted scientists and conservationists alike, as non-one knew it occurred so far south, in vegetation quite different from that of the Karoo. This find highlights the importance of keeping sections of farmlands uncultivated to ensure the survival of threatened wild animals and plants. The rabbit was found in a remnant of Robertson Karoo Veld near the highly endangered Breede Sand Fynbos on the Graham Beck wine farm. The rabbit was first spotted by the conservation manager, Mossie Basson.

 Their distribution is not known because their habitat has been greatly reduced and transformed, but it could be that their former distribution did occur this far south. They need the soft sand of river banks to dig their burrows, but much of the riverine habitat has been destroyed with people ploughing right down to banks.

The distinctive feature of the riverine rabbit is its brown tail. The tails of the Cape hare and the scrub hare are black and white. It also has a very distinctive black line on its lower jaw.


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