Listed as Least Concern in #IUCNRedList and listed on #CITES Appendix II, the Serval, Leptailurus serval, is relatively abundant and widespread. It occurs widely through sub-Saharan #Africa , with the exception of tropical rainforests and the Saharan desert. However, the Serval is possibly extinct in Algeria. The species is commonly recorded in most major national parks and reserves, meanwhile, their status outside reserves is uncertain.
Servals specialise in preying on small mammals, in particular rodents, with birds, reptiles and arthropods being secondary prey species. Although Servals very rarely prey upon livestock (and indeed may even be beneficial to crop farmers due to their predilection for rodents), in rural areas throughout Africa, they are sometimes persecuted for taking poultry and indiscriminate predator control methods practiced by pastoralists frequently kill them.
The major threat to the species is wetland habitat loss and degradation. Wetlands harbour comparatively high rodent densities compared with other habitat types, and form the core areas of Serval home ranges. Of secondary importance is degradation of grasslands through annual burning followed by over-grazing by domestic livestock, leading to reduced abundance of small mammals. Sometimes other predators, such as leopards, hyaenas and lions, kill young and even adult Servals.
The key to Serval conservation is wetland conservation. It is crucial to investigate Serval habitat requirements and to create an updated action plan for the species. The Serval can be used as an umbrella species for #savanna biotopes; and as an indicator for the heavily endangered humid savanna #biotope .
On Tuesday 20 March, a visit is planned to the Australian Ecosystems nursery and seed store in Bangholme – next door to Melbourne Water’s Eastern Treatment plant. It is a huge nursery of wetland plants specialising in indigenous plants. They collect seeds from many areas for both wetland and dryland plants. Australian Ecosystems also run a landscaping business and some of their projects include the Victorian Desalination Plant in Wonthaggi, Gum Scrub Creek at Officer and Heritage Henley Golf Course landscaping at Wonga Park. At the conclusion of visiting both the nursery and the seed store, we will then visit a nearby wetlands area to enjoy our BYO picnic lunch. After lunch, it is then off to explore the area.
Members $20, non-members $25, students $15.
The booking form can be downloaded from our website.