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Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 357–367 | Cite as

Genets in the city: community observations and perceptions of large-spotted genets (Genetta tigrina) in an urban environment

  • Craig Widdows
  • Colleen T. Downs
Article
  • 127 Downloads

Abstract

The global increase in urbanization has resulted in exclusion of many carnivore species from human-altered landscapes due to a variety of anthropogenic impacts. However, despite the negative impacts of urbanization on carnivores, certain species exhibit an ability to survive within urban areas. The aim of the study was to solicit community-based information, using a questionnaire mainly, to investigate the distribution of Large-spotted Genets (Genetta tigrina) within the urban environment of the greater Durban district, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and investigate their reported use of anthropogenic structures for resting, breeding and foraging. The study was also designed to determine possible areas of conflict, habitat use and residents’ attitudes towards G. tigrina. Consequently, interviews were conducted in the suburbs of Kloof and Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal to establish information pertaining to genet behaviour, land-use, potential wildlife conflicts and public perceptions with their presence in urban areas. Walking between areas (during foraging bouts or between roost sites) was the main activity observed. Domestic pet food was the main food item genets were observed eating. The most cited cause of genet fatalities were attacks by domestic dogs and collisions with vehicles. Genets were reported using roof spaces for resting during daylight hours and for breeding. Respondents reported providing supplementary food such as meat, chicken and pet food to urban genets. The majority of respondents expressed positive attitudes towards genets in urban Kloof. Negative views stemmed from concerns of disease transfer (RABV) and impacts on wild bird populations. This study illustrated the adaptability of genets to live in urban areas and their ability to utilise anthropogenic resources. Furthermore, the study identified various potential threats to genets in an urban environment.

Keywords

Carnivore Genet Land-use Perceptions Urbanization 

Notes

Acknowledgments

P. Candotti of the Kloof Conservancy and H. Dennyson from the Crest magazine are thanked for publishing the article in their newsletters, magazines and newspapers. The University of KwaZulu-Natal and National Research Fund (ZA) are also thanked for financial funding. We are grateful for the constructive comments of the reviewers.

Supplementary material

11252_2017_722_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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