Mammalogy

Mammalogy

Study of Mammals


The aims of this Department are:

  • To collect, study, monitor and preserve the mammals of the central interior of South Africa and Lesotho
  • To make collection material available for further research
  • To educate and to promote an awareness of our field of study and conservation in the general public


Small mammals

Few people know that approximately two thirds of all mammals (i.e. 66% – not the number of individuals, but the number of species!) are of the other kind. The kind that we often overlook when travelling, sight-seeing, hunting, taking wildlife photographs…the kind that we disregard when planning game reserves/ranches, or calculating stocking rates… small mammals!

Small mammals have been identified as valuable indicators of the health of grasslands. They react rapidly to habitat change, have small home ranges, are reasonably easy to catch, handle and study, and we already have a fair understanding of their general biology. Good quality habitat contains a high diversity of small mammals, while in disturbed or damaged habitat certain species dominate.

Visitors to our Departmental mammal reference collection are amazed to see how many different kinds of mice there are … even more so when told of the densities of these creatures in their habitats. The four-striped mouse, for example, may occur at densities of > 200/ha (compared to 1 Large Stock Unit/8 ha), whilst sharing their environment with five other mouse species!

So why don’t we see them?

Indigenous species are independent of man and, unlike the exotic and commensal house mouse and house rat, very few of them are found close to human dwellings; a fair percentage of these species are solitary. Most of the mice and shrews spend almost 100% of their time in dense vegetation and are regarded as secretive. Furthermore, three species spend 99.9% of their lives underground, while two species spend most of their time in disused termitaria. Approximately 49 mammal species (60% of small mammals) are nocturnal or predominantly nocturnal. Taking all these factors into account, it is therefore not surprising that our indigenous mammal fauna appears more than 50% “poorer” to the average citizen.

Today we know that these small mammals are excellent indicators of ecosystem integrity (the health of the ecosystem). The following factors can give an indication of ecosystem integrity:

  • The presence or absence of specific indicators such as ecosystem engineers (i.e. animals that prepare the environment for other organisms to live in), or the predominance of certain species (e.g. the predominance of the multi-mammate mouse is an indication that some form of disturbance has taken place).
  • Healthy and diverse carnivore populations (this also includes smaller predators such as shrews) usually indicate that the diversity of prey species is intact.
  • Healthy specialist or top-predator populations indicate that links lower down in their food chain are intact.
  • A large variety of rodent species and a high specialist:generalist ratio indicate that the predator guild is complete.


It is, however, the combination of the above that sketches the full picture of the integrity of the ecosystem. The better the integrity, the more resilient and resistant (stable) the ecosystem – which, in itself, may ensure higher, sustainable primary productivity and thereby directly influence the stocking rates of farms, game farms and nature reserves.

Small mammals have diverse morphological adaptations to their environments. The relatively flat head of the dormouse enables it to enter even the narrowest of cracks, whilst the long, prehensile tail of the climbing mouse allows it to sit high on a grass stalk, freeing its “hands” to obtain seeds. Other small mammals use their long tails for balance when moving through treetops. The bipedal gerbil and the springhare of open areas rely on their relatively long legs to carry out fast hopping movements when escaping from predators. The long snout of the elephant shrew and the large ears of the bat-eared fox help them to locate prey, whilst the large ears of the large-eared mouse help it to evade predators. The long vibrissae and bristle-like hairs on the fore and hind feet of the common molerat may serve as feelers in their dark burrows. Does the African weasel use its striped pattern to “mimic” the appearance of the smelly polecat, or is it simply an effective camouflage similar to that used by the diurnal striped mouse, some skinks and grass snakes? What about its short legs? Do they allow this predator to effectively follow rats and mice into their burrows?

Did you know that one adult multi-mammate mouse (and her daughters) may potentially produce > 1 000 offspring in a 9-month breeding season, compared to the approximately 200 offspring of most other species? This mouse has 12 pairs of mammae and can raise more than 20 young at a time, compared to an average of six young in the similar-sized striped mouse. It also has a shorter gestation period and has its first litter at a younger age; as a result, this species is able to quickly recolonise an area after natural or anthropogenic disturbances, temporarily dominating the small mammal fauna.

Furthermore, did you know that the total weight of mice in a 1 ha area of grassland may amount to 5 kg (compared to the approximately 50 kg/ha of large stock); taking into account their relatively high metabolism, mice may be responsible for > 15% of the vegetation consumed by all mammals. Luckily (for us) mouse numbers drop dramatically (probably up to 60%) between the end of autumn and the end of winter. This drop is mainly caused by a shortage of food and social stress. Population numbers start to increase again with the appearance of new shoots after winter and reach peak densities at the end of autumn.

Traditional healers, for example, believe that if one buries a shrew near someone’s house, that person will be cursed. It is also believed that if you sprinkle the powder of a fruit bat over a jealous wife’s food, she will develop tunnel vision (or will be cured of her problem!).

Otomys sloggetti, the “ice rat”, is endemic to the high Maluti and Drakensberg mountains and is well adapted to the very cold conditions experienced in those open environments. Physically its relatively round body shape, short limbs and tail maximize the retention of heat. Like the other Otomys rats the body is covered in a thick blanket of hair and behaviourally it is strictly diurnal – its sun basking behaviour has led to its Sesotho name “Tadi ya maqwa” (≈ “the little old man of the snow”).

The Greater canerat, Thryonomys swinderianus, is bred and sold as a valuable protein source over its entire distribution area in Africa. It is also known as an agricultural pest in the sugar cane plantations of KwaZulu-Natal. Since the mid 1980s this mammal has infiltrated the Free State Province from the east (first Museum record – 1985, Reitz district), and was recently found on a farm c. 20 km west of Bultfontein; a westward increase in distribution range of 300 km in 18 years! Of great concern is that we do not know anything about the density, reproduction, social behaviour, etc. of this exotic mammal in our Free State ecosystems.

News

Visitors from Italy

Visitors from Italy

11 January 2017
Dr Roberto Isotti, zoology lecturer at La Sapienza University (Rome), a conservation photographer and co-founder of Homo ambiens, an internet-based initiative showing the beauty of the natural environment and the state of the Planet (www.homoambiens.com), joined Nico Avenant in August for excursions in the Free State, central Karoo, Cederberg and West Coast National Park, in search of caracal. During their visit Roberto and his colleague, photo journalist Micol Ricci, presented a talk to more than 150 people in the Reservoir at Oliewenhuis Art Museum.


Storage facilities upgraded

Storage facilites upgraded

11 January 2017
The storage facilites housing mounted mammal and bird specimens not on display was recently upgraded. This off-site store room was previously subjected to dust and temperature fluctuations not conducive to long-term preservation. With the financial assistance of the National Research Foundation of South Africa the facility is now on par with international standards. It is dust-proof and climate-controlled, ensuring a constant temperature and humidity.


Popular talks

Popular talks
Ronny Nokha with a visitor from the Rendezvous Support Group, Free State Society for the Blind, during a visit to the Museum.

11 January 2017
Staff from the Mammalogy Department presented a number of talks, in combination with touch and sound experiences, for blind and visually impaired persons at the Presbyterian Church in Aliwal Street (in April), at the Museum (in September) and at the Free State Society for the Blind offices in Maitland Street (in October).


Ongoing field work in long-term research project

Ongoing field work

11 January 2017
Dr Nico Avenant is one of more than 60 scientists from eight French and 10 South African research institutions currently collaborating in the long-term project Biodiversity and global change in Southern Africa. This project has been running since 2005. Pictured here are Dr Guila Ganem from the University of Montpellier (France) and Leon Kotze (M.Sc. student, University of the Witwatersrand) doing fieldwork at Soetdoring Nature Reserve. They were assisted by staff of the Mammalogy Department.

Staff
Specialist Museum Scientist and Head of Department Nico L. Avenant PhD navenant@nasmus.co.za   Nico Avenant is a small mammal ecologist with extensive field experience, working on a wide variety of rodents and their predators. He has joined the National Museum in 1995. Observations made during his early collection trips, together with his introduction to environmental impact assessments (EIAs), led to Nico’s current research field, i.e. small mammal community characteristics as indicators of habitat integrity. His PhD study (on the ecology of the exotic Marion Island house mouse) added value to his studies on small mammal ecology. Nico slowly started to merge the fields of “small mammals as indicators” and “predator-prey relations”. To date Nico has contributed towards 68 peer-reviewed publications, 65 research based reports, 106 national and international conference and workshop contributions, and five chapters in books. Current RG Score = 25.87; work cited in 850 publications. Nico is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated scientist and a Research Associate of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), University of the Free State (UFS). He collaborates on national and international research projects, and lectures to and supervises both undergraduate and post-graduate students. He has conducted research over a wide area in Southern Africa, at the Prince Edward Islands, and in Cambodia. Since January 2000 Nico has acted as reviewer for manuscripts in 20 different accredited journals, for conference abstracts, for three books, and for five species profiles for the Mammals of Africa (Kingdon et al. 2013); as scientific advisor for the Mammals of the Southern African Subregion (Skinner & Chimimba 2005); as contributor and compiler for the SA Red Data Books for Mammals (Friedmann & Daly 2004; Child et al. 2016); as Guest Editor for the journals Integrative Zoology and Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein. He is currently a Section Editor for African Zoology. More recently Nico has assessed applications for NRF evaluations and ratings, for NRF funding, and project proposals for a number of national and international Grant entities and tertiary institutions. He has also acted as an external examiner for 25 post-graduate studies (from 11 different universities), and as advisor for Recognition of Prior Learning applications. Nico’s other responsibilities at the National Museum include involvement in certain educational activities, and overseeing the collections and administration of the Mammalogy Department. The Department’s research collection and database comprise c. 13 000 mammal specimens and records. As Curator of the collection he is primarily responsible for the systematic growth thereof, and for ensuring that it remains relevant and accessible for researchers internationally. His involvement in EIAs and participation in conservation initiatives represent contributions towards the conservation of species, biodiversity and ecosystems. Regarding involvement in education, Nico contributes actively to permanent and temporary Museum exhibitions, he presents both popular and academic lectures, provides information on mammals and ecosystems to individuals and groups, and supervises post-graduate students (14 MSc and PhD degrees awarded). The 29 popular publications, 23 newspaper articles, 74 popular talks and involvement with the “Big 5” computer game are further testimony to his commitment to research-based education at all levels. Nico currently serves or has served on the following committees or forums: International Conference for Rodent Biology and Management; International Association for Impact Assessment, Free State Branch; Free State Conservation Forum; Free State Biodiversity Planning Steering Committee; Eskom's Multi-disciplinary Committee; the South African National Defence Force Regional Environmental Advisory Forum; various National Museum committees, e.g. Science Forum Committee (ex-chair), HOD Works Committee (ex-chair), Collections Audit Committee, Exhibitions Committee. He currently also serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Integrative Zoology and is a Section Editor for African Zoology. He is a member of the Zoological Society of Southern Africa, as well as the South African Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Scientists.
Museum Scientist and Collections Manager Jurie J. du Plessis PhD jurie.duplessis@nasmus.co.za JurieJurie obtained a BSc (Entomology & Zoology) at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein and obtained his BSc Hons (Zoology) at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth. Returning to Bloemfontein in 2004, he completed an MEM (Masters in Environmental Management) at the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM), UFS, and graduated with a PhD (Environmental Management) in December 2013. Jurie worked as a Learner Professional Officer at the CEM from 2004 to 2008, after which he was appointed as Assistant Museum Scientist and Collection Manager in the Department of Mammalogy at the National Museum. He is currently a Museum Scientist and Collections Manager in the Department of Mammalogy. Jurie’s areas of expertise lie in the sampling of small mammal communities, preparation and management of mammal specimens for Museum collections, ecology and management of predators, predator-prey relationships with emphasis on the livestock and game farming industry, biomonitoring of fish communities in rivers and ecology of fish communities in rivers. He is a member of the South African Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA).
General Assistant / Preparator Tshediso Putsane Tshediso PutsaneTshediso Putsane started his career at the National Museum in March 2013, as a General Assistant / Preparator at the Department of Mammalogy. Tshediso’s main tasks include: assistance during fieldwork, preparation of study material for inclusion in the Mammalogy Department’s Research Collection, assistance with the curation of this collection and the day-to-day running of the department. Tshediso is also involved with some educational activities for visitors to the Mammalogy Department and for students at the University of the Free State. His fieldwork experience includes extensive sampling in Free State provincial nature reserves, on iron ore mine properties, and in Lesotho.
General Assistant / Preparator Ronny Nokha RonnyRonny Nokha started his career at the National Museum in April 2015, as Preparator at the Department of Mammalogy. Ronny’s main tasks include: assistance during fieldwork, preparation of study material for inclusion in the Mammalogy Department’s Research Collection, assistance with the curation of this collection and the day-to-day running of the department. He is also involved with educational activities for visitors to the Mammalogy Department and for students at the University of the Free State.
Research

Mammology-research

Fields of Research

  • Distribution/biogeography of small mammals in the central interior of South Africa and Lesotho
  • Distribution of small mammals in relation to floristic composition
  • Small mammal biodiversity
  • Distribution of small mammals in relation to the ecological value of grassveld
  • Monitoring small mammals effectively: a comparison of trapping methods
  • Small mammals as indicators of biological integrity
  • Addressing the caracal and black-backed jackal problem in small stock areas in southern Africa


General

  • The staff of the Department are actively involved with research and publish regularly in accredited and popular journals
  • The staff of the Department are involved with Environmental Assessments, which they do on a contract basis.
Publications - Scientific Articles

Claire M. S. Dufour, Neville Pillay, Nico Avenant, Johan Watson, Etienne Loire and Guila Ganem. 2019. Habitat characteristics and species interference influence space use and nest-site occupancy: Implications for social variation in two sister species. Oikos 128 (4): 503-516.

Paine OCC, Leichliter JN, Avenant N, Codron D, Lawrence A, Sponheimer M. 2019. The ecomorphology of southern African rodent incisors: Potential applications to the hominin fossil record. PLoS ONE 14(2): e0205476. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205476.

David L. Bergman, Nico Avenant, Francoais Schutte & Michael J. Bodenchuk 2019. Providing Education to Enhance Wildlife Conservation in South Africa Through the First Wildlife School for Game Ranchers - a Grassroots Effort by Government Authorized Conservationists. Proceedings of the 18th Wildlife Damage Management Conference. (J.B. Armstrong, G.R. Gallagher, Eds.). 2019. Pp. 68-76.

Kerley, G.I.H., Behrens, K.G., Carruthers, J., Diemont, M., Du Plessis, J., Minnie, L., Somers, M.J., Tambling, C.J., Turpie, J., Wilson, S. & Balfour, D. 2019. Building assessment practice and lessons from the scientific assessment on livestock predation in South Africa. South African Journal of Science 115: 1-4

Kerley, G.I.H., Behrens, K.G., Carruthers, J., Diemont, M., du Plessis, J., Minnie, L., Somers, M.J., Tambling, C.J., Turpie, J., Wilson, S.L. & Balfour, D. 2018. Summary for Policymakers. In: Livestock predation and its management in South Africa: a scientific assessment (Eds Kerley, G.I.H., Wilson, S.L. & Balfour, D.). Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 7-14.

Jacqueline Codron, Nico L Avenant, Corli Wigley-Coetzee, Daryl Codron. 2018. Carnivore stable carbon isotope niches reflect predator-prey size relationships in African savannas. Integrative Zoology 13: 166-179.

Du Plessis, J.J., Avenant, N.L., Botha, A., Mkhize, N.R., Müller, L., Mzileni, N., O’Riain, M.J., Parker, D.M., Potgieter, G., Richardson, P.R.K., Rode, S., Viljoen, N. Hawkins, H-J., Tafani, M. 2018. Past and current management of predation on livestock. In: Livestock predation and its management in South Africa: a scientific assessment (Eds Kerley, G.I.H., Wilson, S.L. & Balfour, D.). Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 125-177.

Minnie, L., Avenant, N.L., Drouilly, M. & Samuels, I. 2018. Biology and ecology of the black-backed jackal and the caracal. In: Livestock predation and its management in South Africa: a scientific assessment (Eds Kerley, G.I.H., Wilson, S.L. & Balfour, D.). Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 178-204.

Tambling, C.J., Avenant, N.L., Drouilly, M. & Melville, H.I.A.S. 2018. The Role Of Mesopredators In Ecosystems: Potential Effects Of Managing Their Populations On Ecosystem Processes And Biodiversity. In: Livestock predation and its management in South Africa: a scientific assessment (Eds Kerley, G.I.H., Wilson, S.L. & Balfour, D.). Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, 205-254.

Claire M.-S. Dufour, Guila Ganem, Neville Pillay & Nico L. Avenant 2018. Habitat characteristics and species interference influence space use and nest-site occupancy: implications for social variation in two rodent sister species. Proceedings of the Joint Conference of the Rodens et Spatium  and International Conference of Rodent Biology and Management (ISSN 1868-9892, ISBN 978-3-95547-059-3; DOI 10.5073/jka.2018.459.000). Page 58.

Nico Avenant, Jurie du Plessis & Nico Smit 2018. Rodents as indicators of the ecological impact of an open-cast iron mine in central South Africa. Proceedings of the Joint Conference of the Rodens et Spatium and International Conference of Rodent Biology and Management (ISSN 1868-9892, ISBN 978-3-95547-059-3; DOI 10.5073/jka.2018.459.000). Page 165.

Jacqueline Codron, Nico L Avenant, Corli Wigley-Coetzee, Daryl Codron. 2018. Carnivore stable carbon isotope niches reflect predator-prey size relationships in African savannas. Integrative Zoology 13: 166-179.

Jacques de Klerk & Nico Avenant. 2017. Small mammal succession in rehabilitated areas: further evidence in support of their status as ecological indicators in southern Africa. Indago 33: 49-56.

McKenzie, V.J., Song, S., Delsuc, F., Prest, T.L., Oliverio, A.M., Korpita, T.M., Alexiev, A., Amato, K.R., Metcalf, J.L., Kowalewski, M., Avenant, N.L, Link, A., Di Fiore, T., Seguin-Orlando, A., Feh, C., Orlando, L., Mendelson, J.R., Sanders, J. & Knight, R. 2017. The effects of captivity on the mammalian gut microbiome. Integrative and Comparative Biology 57: 690-704.

Jennifer Leichliter, Paul Sandberg, Benjamin Passey, Daryl Codron, Nico Avenant, Oliver Paine, Jacqueline Codron, Darryl de Ruiter, Matt Sponheimer. 2017. Stable carbon isotope ecology of modern small mammals from the Sterkfontein Valley: Implications for habitat reconstruction in mosaic environments. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 485: 57-67.

Kerley, G.I.H., Behrens, K.G., Carruthers, J., Diemont, M., du Plessis, J., Minnie, L., Richardson, P.R.K., Somers, M.J., Tambling, G.J., Turpie, J., Van Niekerk, H.N. & Balfour, D. 2017. Livestock predation in South Africa: the need for and value of a scientific assessment. South African Journal of Science 113: 1-3.

Jennifer Leichliter,  Matt Sponheimer, Nico Avenant, Paul Sandberg, Oliver Paine, Daryl Codron, Jacqueline Codron, Ben Passey. 2016. Small mammal insectivore stable carbon isotope compositions as habitat proxies in a South African savanna ecosystem. Journal of Archaeological Science 8:335-345.

Jenny H.E. Burgman, Jennifer Leichliter, Nico L. Avenant & Peter S. Ungar. 2016. Dental microwear of sympatric rodent species sampled across habitats in southern Africa:  Implications for environmental influence. Integrative Zoology 11: 111–127.

Morgan L. Hauptfleisch & Nico L. Avenant. 2016. Actual and perceived collision risk for bird strikes at Namibian airports. Ostrich 87(2): 161-171.

Jacqueline Codron, Kevin J. Duffy, Nico L. Avenant, Matt Sponheimer, Jennifer Leichliter, Oliver Paine, Paul Sandberg and Daryl Codron. 2015. Stable Isotope Evidence for Trophic Niche Partitioning in a South African Savanna Rodent Community. Current Zoology 61(3): 397 - 411.

Morgan L. Hauptfleisch & Nico L. Avenant. 2015. Integrating small mammal community variables into aircraft-wildlife collision management plans at Namibian airports. Integrative Zoology 10(6): 515-530.

Du Plessis, J.J., Avenant, N.L. & De Waal, H.O. 2015. Quality and Quantity of the Scientific Information Available on Black-Backed Jackals and Caracals: Contributing to Human - Predator Conflict Management? African Journal of Wildlife Research 45(2): 138–157.

Claire M.S. Dufour, Christine Meynard, Johan Watson, Camille Rioux, Simon Benhamou, Julie Perez, Jurie J. du Plessis, Nico Avenant, Neville Pillay and Guila Ganem. 2015. Space use variation in co-occurring sister species: response to environmental variation or competition? PLOS ONE 10(2):1-15.

Avenant, N.L. 2014. Rodent Biology and Management. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein. 30(3): i-ii (Editorial).

William G. Breed, Chris M. Leigh, Ken P. Aplin, Adel A. Shahin & Nico L. Avenant. 2014. Morphological diversity and evolution of the spermatozoon in the mouse-relared clade of rodents. Journal of Morphology 275: 540–547.

C.M. Kneidinger, H. van Heerden, D. MacFadyen , M. van der Merwe, N.L. Avenant & H. van der Bank. 2014. Species identification, habitat preferences and population genetics of Mastomys natalensis (A. Smith, 1834) and M. coucha (A. Smith, 1836) in an enclosed area, Kruger National Park, South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Bloemfontein 30(3): 31-45.

Gail C. Potgieter, Laurie L. Marker, Nico L. Avenant & Graham I. H. Kerley. 2013. Why Namibian farmers are satisfied with the performance of their livestock guarding dogs. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 18(6): 403-415.

Morgan L. Hauptfleisch, Nico L. Avenant & Alton Tsowaseb. 2013. A first analysis of Aircraft-Wildlife Collisions at two major Namibian airports, by, South African Journal of Wildlife Research 43(2): 177–184.

 

Bergman, D.L., De Waal, H.O., Avenant, N.L., Bodenchuk, M.J., Marlow, M.C. & Nolte, D.L. 2013. The need to address black-backed jackal and caracal predation in South Africa. Proceedings of the 15th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (J. B. Armstrong, G. R. Gallagher, Eds). P. 86-94.

Avenant, N.L. 2013. Pelea capreolus. In: Kingdon, J.S. & Hoffmann, M. (Eds). The Mammals of Africa. Vol. 6. Pigs, Deer, Giraffe, Bovids, and Hippos. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Avenant, N.L. 2013. Redunca fulvorufula. In: Kingdon, J.S. & Hoffmann, M. (Eds). The Mammals of Africa. Vol. 6. Pigs, Deer, Giraffe, Bovids, and Hippos. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

MacFadyen, D.N.,  Avenant, N.L., Van der Merwe, M. & Bredenkamp, G.J. 2012. The influence of fire on small mammal abundance at the N’washitshumbe enclosure site, Kruger National Park, South Africa. African Zoology 47:138-146.

Olbricht,G., Sliwa, A.  & Avenant, N.L. 2012. Sengi research in the Free State, South Africa.Afrotherian Conservation News 9: 7-8.

Avenant, N.L. 2011. The potential utility of rodents and other small mammals as indicators of ecosystem integrity of South African grasslands. Wildlife Research 38: 626-639.

Avenant, N.L. 2011. Recent progress in Rodent Biology and Management. Integrative Zoology 6:297-298 (Editorial).

Hugo-Coetzee, E.A. & Avenant, N.L. 2011.The effect of fire on soil oribatid mites (Acari: Oribatida) in a South African grassland. Zoosymposia 6:191–201.

Kaiser, W., Avenant, N.L. & Haddad, C.R. 2009. Assessing the ecological integrity of a grassland ecosystem: refining the SAGraSS method. Afr.J.Ecol. 47: 308–317.

Van der Merwe, S.J., Avenant, N.L. & Lues, J.F.R. 2009. Pastoral farming and wildlife management influences on lion/livestock interaction in the Kgalagadi-South, Botswana: a synopsis. Journal for New Generation Sciences 7(1): 203-214.

Avenant, N.L. & Du Plessis, J.J. 2008. Sustainable small stock farming and ecosystem conservation in southern Africa: a role for small mammals. Mammalia 72:258-263.

Avenant, N.L., Watson, J.P. & Schulze, E. 2008. Correlating small mammal community characteristics and habitat integrity in the Caledon Nature Reserve, South Africa. Mammalia 72:186-191.

Kaiser, W., Avenant, N.L. & Haddad, C.R. 2008. Assessing the ecological integrity of a grassland ecosystem: refining the SAGraSS method. Afr.J.Ecol. (Early online)

Herrmann, E., Kamler, J.F.& Avenant, N.L. 2008. New records of servals Leptailurus serval in central South Africa. S.Afr.J.Wildl.Res. 38:185-188.

Avenant, N.L. & Cavallini, P. 2007. Correlating rodent community structure with ecological integrity, Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve, Free State Province, South Africa. Integrative Zoology 2:212-219.

Avenant, N.L. & Cavallini, P. 2006. Correlating rodent community structure with ecological integrity, Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve, Free State Province, South Africa. Peer reviewed abstract published in book (= proceedings), International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management, Hanoi, Vietnam, September 2006.

Avenant, N.L. & De Waal, H.O. 2006. The potential importance of rodents in managing two problem carnivores, and subsequently in promoting ecosystem conservation and sustainable small stock farming practises in southern Africa. Peer reviewed abstract published in book (= proceedings), International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management, Hanoi, Vietnam, September 2006.

Kaiser, W.& Avenant, N.L. 2006. The importance if including rodents in veld condition assessments: a case study. Peer reviewed abstract published in book (= proceedings), International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management, Hanoi, Vietnam, September 2006.

Avenant, N.L. & Van der Merwe, M. 2006. Expansion of the greater cane rat, Thryonomys swinderianus, into the drier parts of Southern Africa. Peer reviewed abstract published in book (= proceedings), International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management, Hanoi, Vietnam, September 2006.

Avenant, N.L., De Waal, H.O. & Combrinck, W. 2006. The Canis-Caracal Programme: a holistic approach. Proceedings to the national Workshop on the holistic management of human-wildlife conflict in South Africa, 10 - 13 April 2006, Ganzekraal Conference Centre, Western Cape. Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2005. Barn owl pellets: a useful tool for monitoring small mammal communities? Belgian Journal of Zoology 135:39-43.

Avenant, N.L. & Smith, V.R. 2004. Seasonal changes in age class structure and reproductive status of house mice on Marion Island (sub-Antarctic). Polar Biology 27:99-111

Van der Merwe, M. & Avenant, N.L. 2004. The Greater cane rat, Thryonomys swinderianus, is a pest species that is expanding its range in southern Africa. Navors.nas.Mus.,Bloemfontein 20: III-X.

Avenant, N.L. 2003. The use of small-mammal community characteristics as an indicator of ecological disturbance in the Korannaberg Conservancy. In: Rats, Mice & People: Rodent Biology and Management (eds. Singleton, G.R., Hinds, L.A., Krebs, C.J. & Spratt, D.M.). ACIAR Monograph No. 96, 564p.

Avenant, N.L. & Smith, V.R. 2003. The microenvironment of house mice on Marion Island (sub-Antarctic). Polar Biology 26:129-141.

Ferreira, S.M. & Avenant, N.L. 2003. Influences of trap-spacing on descriptors of hypothetical small mammal communities in Free State grasslands. Navors.nas.Mus.,Bloemfontein 19:21-30.

Avenant, N.L. & Nel, J.A.J. 2002. Among habitat variation in prey availability and use by caracal Felis caracalMamm. Biol. 67:18-33.

Avenant, N.L. & Watson, J.P. 2002. Mammals recorded in the Sandveld Nature Reserve, Free State province, South Africa. Navors.nas.Mus.,Bloemfontein 18(1):1-12.

Smith, V.R., Avenant, N.L. & Chown, S.L. 2002. Feeding ecology of Marion Island house mice. Polar Biology 25:703-715.

Avenant, N.L. & Kuyler, P. 2002. Small mammal diversity in the Maguga area, Swaziland. S. Afr. J. Wildl. Res. 32:101-108.

Publications - Scientific Reports

Avenant, N.L. & Nel, J.A.J. 1996. Mammals. In: Baseline Biology Survey and Reserve Development, Phase 1B, Mohale Dam, Lesotho. Final Report, LHDA Contract 1008, AfriDev Consultants, Darling, South Africa.

Irish, J., Avenant, N.L. & Lotz, L. 1997. Kogelbeengrot: verslag m.b.t. potensiële toerisme-ontwikkeling. Pp. 19. Unpublished report to the Griekwastad Publicity Organisation.

Avenant, N.L. 1998. Mammals. EIA Contract work: Maguga Dam, Swaziland. Work done for Afridev Consultants, Darling, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 1999. The ecology and ecophysiology of the Marion Island house mouse, Mus musculus L. Ph.D. thesis, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mammals. In: Biological Monitoring, Mohale. LHDA Contract 1053. National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mammals. In: Letseng-la-Letsie Protected Area - Fencing and Reintroduction of Large Mammals. Part of the program Conserving Mountain Biodiversity in Southern Lesotho. National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mammals.  In: Development on Mohale Island. Geo Pollution Technologies, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mammals.  In: Ladybrand solid waste site – scoping report. Geo Pollution Technologies, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mammals.  In: Integrated Development Plan for Mangaung; State of the Environment Report. Spatial Solutions Inc., Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2003. Mammals. In: Biological Monitoring, Mohale. LHDA Contract 1053. National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho.

Avenant, N.L. 2003. Mammals. In: Faunal Rescue Program, Mohale. National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho.

Avenant, N.L. 2004. Mammal report. Submitted to UNDP, Lesotho, as part of the “Conserving Mountain Biodiversity in Southern Lesotho” program.

Avenant, N.L. 2006. Residential Development in Theunissen: Mammals. Scoping report prepared for Bokamoso Environmental, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2006. Mammal report, MDTP Biodiversity Assessment. Contract GEF/002. Maloti Drakensberg Ecology Consultants.

Avenant, N.L. 2007. Mammals and the Senqu Sources Biosphere Reserve. In: Strategic Environmental Assessment for the proposed Senqu Sources Protected Area, Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project. Strategic Environmental Focus, Lynwood Ridge, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L. 2008. Mammals of the Free State Botanical Gardens, Bloemfontein. Report to Mnr. P. Gavhi, SANBI.

Avenant, N.L. 2008. CN Code: the mammals and herpetofauna at Beatrix Main and Beatrix No. 4 slime dam complexes. Report to H2ON Environmental Specialists, Bloemfontein.

Avenant, N.L. 2010. Bio-monitoring protocol, mammals. Submitted to Kumba Iron Ore Mines. Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.

Avenant, N.L. 2011. Small mammal report, In: Zietsman, P.C, Seaman, M.T., Smit, G.N., Avenant, N., Buschke, F.T., Adendorff, J., Janse van Rensburg, G., Deacon, F., du Plessis, J. & Zietsman, L.E. 2011. Integrated Report on Biomonitoring at Kolomela Mine, Kumba Iron Ore. Centre for Environmental Management, Univerity of the Free State.

Avenant, N.L. & Du Plessis, J.J. 2012. Letšeng Expansion Project: Project Kholo. Mammal Specialist Report, for Environmental Resources Management (Southern Africa) Pty Ltd.

Avenant, N.L. 2013. Small mammal monitoring on Kolomela mine properties, Postmasburg – 2012 season. Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.

Avenant, N.L. 2013. Field report: Mammal monitoring. LHDA Contract 1273, Biological Resource Monitoring within Phase 1 of the LHWP Catchments. Anchor Environmental.

Avenant, N.L. 2014. Field report 2014/1, Project nr. 1.2, Mammals, on Biomonitoring at Kolomela Mine, Kumba Iron Ore. Centre for Environmental Management, Univerity of the Free State.

Avenant, N.L. 2014. Small mammal monitoring on Kolomela mine properties, Postmasburg – 2013 season. Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein.

Avenant, N., Du Plessis, J. & Senoge, J. 2014. Mammals of the Mohale Dam catchment. Specialist report for Contract 1273: Biological Resources Monitoring within Phase 1 of the LHWP Catchments 2013-14.  Report no. AEC/14/12 submitted by Anchor Environmental Consultants to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Du Plessis, J., Avenant, N. & Putsane, T. 2014. Mammals of the Katse Dam catchment. Specialist report for Contract 1273: Biological Resources Monitoring within Phase 1 of the LHWP Catchments 2013-14.  Report no. AEC/14/12 submitted by Anchor Environmental Consultants to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Jane Turpie, Nigel Barker, Barry Clark, Gerhard Diedericks, Gary Marneweck, David Allan, James Harvey, Nico Avenant & Katherine Forsythe. 2014. State of the Mohale Dam Catchment: synthesis of the 2013/14 monitoring studies. Contract 1273: Biological Resources Monitoring within Phase 1 of the LHWP Catchments 2013-14.  Report submitted by Anchor Environmental Consultants to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Jane Turpie, Nigel Barker, Barry Clark, Gerhard Diedericks, Gary Marneweck, David Allan, James Harvey, Nico Avenant & Katherine Forsythe. 2014. State of the Katse Dam Catchment: synthesis of the 2013/14 monitoring studies. Contract 1273: Biological Resources Monitoring within Phase 1 of the LHWP Catchments 2013-14.  Report submitted by Anchor Environmental Consultants to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Nico Avenant & Jurie du Plessis 2016. Small mammal monitoring on Kolomela mine properties, Postmasburg: 2015 results, and changes experienced since 2011. Report submitted to the Kolomela Mine.

Turpie, J.K., Forsythe, K., Reinecke, K., Diedericks, G., Dijkstra, K.D., Collins, S., Branch, W., Davies, T., Allan, D. & Avenant, N. 2016. Biodiversity of the Elephant Marsh; sub-study 4: Climate resilient livelihoods and sustainable natural resource management in the Elephant Marsh, Malawi. Anchor Environmental, Cape Town. 444 pages.

Taylor WA, Avenant NL, Schulze E, Viljoen P, Child MF. 2016. A conservation assessment of Redunca fulvorufula fulvorufula. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Du Plessis J, Peel M, Child MF. A conservation assessment of Redunca arundinum. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Du Plessis J, Russo IM-R, Child MF. 2016. A conservation assessment of Mastomys spp. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Du Plessis J, Swanepoel LH, McDonough M, Schoeman C. A conservation assessment of Gerbilliscus leucogaster. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Watson J, du Plessis J, Relton C. A conservation assessment of Gerbilliscus brantsii. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Taylor A, Cowell C, Drouilly M, Schulze E, Avenant N, Birss C, Child MF. 2016. A conservation assessment of Pelea capreolus. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Okes N, Ponsonby DW, Rowe-Rowe D, Avenant NL, Somers MJ. 2016. A conservation assessment of Aonyx capensis. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Light J, Pillay N, Avenant NL, Child MF 2016. A conservation assessment of Atelerix frontalis. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant NL, Power RJ, MacFadyen D, Child MF. 2016. A conservation assessment of Thryonomys swinderianus. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant, N.L., Drouilly, M., Power, R.J., Thorn, M., Martins, Q., Neils, A., du Plessis, J. & Do Linh San E. 2016. A conservation assessment of Caracal caracal. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant NL, MacEwan K, Balona J, Cohen L, Jacobs D, Monadjem A, Richards L, Schoeman C, Sethusa T, Taylor PJ. 2016. A conservation assessment of Cistugo lesueuri. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant NL, Wilson B, Power RJ, Palmer G, Child MF. 2016. A conservation assessment of Mystromys albicaudatus. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Avenant NL, Balona J, Cohen L, Jacobs D, MacEwan K, Monadjem A, Richards LR, Schoeman C, Sethusa T, Taylor, P. 2016. A conservation assessment of Laephotis wintoni. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Do Linh San E, Palmer G, Stuart C, Cavallini P, Avenant NL. 2016. A conservation assessment of Herpestes pulverulentus. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Minnie L, Avenant NL, Kamler J, Butler H, Parker D, Drouilly M, du Plessis J, Do Linh San E. 2016. A conservation assessment of Canis mesomelas. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Le Roux A, Balmforth Z, Mbatyoti OA, Bizani M, Avenant NL, Do Linh San E. 2016. A conservation assessment of Cynictis penicillata. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Nico Avenant & Jurie du Plessis 2016. Small mammal monitoring on Kolomela mine properties, Postmasburg: 2015 results, and changes experienced since 2011. Report submitted to the Kolomela Mine. 19 pages.

N.L. Avenant & J.P. du Plessis 2017. Using small mammals to monitor the ecological integrity at Kolomela Mine, Postmasburg: 2011 to 2016. Environmental assessment report submitted to Kolomela Mine, Postmasburg. 20 pages.

N.L. Avenant & J.P. du Plessis 2018a. Small mammals as ecological indicator: Kolomela Mine, 2011 to 2017. Environmental assessment report submitted to Kolomela Mine, Postmasburg. 19 pages.

Nico Avenant and Jurie du Plessis 2018b. Small mammals as ecological indicator: Kolomela Mine, 2011 to 2018. Centre for Environmental Management, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. 22 pages.

Also contributed, amongst others, to the:

following African Chiroptera Reports: ACR 2018; ACR 2017; ACR 2016; ACR 2015; ACR 2014; ACR 2013; ACR 2012; ACR 2011; ACR 2010.

Senqu Sources Management Plan, Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (2008). Strategic Environmental Focus, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria.

Free State Environment Summit Report 2008. Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs, Bloemfontein.

Free State Province Environment Outlook Report 2009. Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Free State Province, Bloemfontein.

ERM 2010. Critical Habitat Assessment, Lesotho Highlands. Ecological Resources Management Southern Africa, Cape Town.

Publications - Popular Articles

An article about Nico Avenant and his work on the damage-causing caracal in South Africa appeared in an Italian journal: M. Ricci, A. Cambone, R. Isotti. 2019. Simba mangu - un futuro per il caracal (a future for the caracal). La Rivista della Natura March 2019. pp. 44-51.

Nico Avenant 2019. Verstaan jakkalse en rooikatte om verliese te beperk. Landbouweekblad 16 Augustus : 50-53.

Geolino 2/2018: A publication about the research that N. Avenant and collaborators do on caracal and black-backed jackal (see Project 375) has appeared in the German popular science journal for young readers, GEOlino 2/2018: " Frieden für die Schwarzohren".

Du Plessis, J.J. 2015. An update to the Red List of the Mammals of South Africa. Culna 70.

Nico Avenant 2015. Die Grasveldbioom, vuur en klein soogdiertjies. Culna 70.

Du Plessis, J.J. 2014. Rooijakkals- en rooikat-bestuur en die rol van predatore in ‘n ekosisteem. Culna 69.

Avenant, N.L. 2013. The bats of Lesotho. Culna 68.

Avenant, N.L. 2012. Rooikat en jakkalsprobleme: die rooies, die groenes, die blindes en die opportuniste. Culna 67.

Avenant, N.L. 2011. Muise, muise … net waar jy kyk. Culna 66.

Avenant, N.L & Von Kaschke, M. 2010. South African involvement in managing the new Mondulkiri Protected Forest, north-east Cambodia. Culna 65.

Avenant, N.L. 2009. The Mammals of Lesotho. Culna 64.

Avenant, N.L. 2008. ‘n Museum vir gestremdes. Culna 63.

Avenant, N.L. 2007. Rooikat & Rooijakkals: is daar hoop vir kleinveeboerdery in Suid-Afrika? Culna 62.

Brink, J. & Avenant, N. 2007. The mountain reedbuck and grey rhebok. ToGoTo 19:42-43.

Avenant, N.L. 2006. Kleinsoogdiertjies – aanwysers van ‘n gesonde ekosisteem. Culna 60.

Avenant, N.L. & Kaiser, W. 2006. The “other” mammals. Game Ranching in Central South Africa 1:52-56.

Avenant, N.L. 2006. Veldwerk te olifant in Kambodja. Culna 61.

Avenant, N.L. 2004. Knaagdiere as peste ... Culna 59.

Avenant, N.L. 2003. Kruising tussen ‘n erdvark en ‘n ystervark! Culna 58.

Avenant, N.L. 2002. Mohale-dam: omgewingsmonitering in die Maluti’s. Culna 57.

Williamson, P.A. 2002. Feromone – die stryd om lewe en dood by insekte. Culna 57.

Avenant, N.L. 2001. Vlermuise: ons mees gehate vriende? Culna 56.

Williamson, P.A. 2001. Hoe oorleef soogdiere in droogtetoestande? Culna 56.

Avenant, N.L. 2000. Korannaberg Bewarea: biodiversiteit-juweel van die Vrystaat. Culna 55.

Eksteen, J.P. 2000. Minder bekende soogdiere van die Vrystaat: Brantse fluitrot. Culna 55.

 

POPULAR TALKS, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, CONTRIBUTION TO EDUCATIONAL COMPUTER GAMES, ETC. (by N. Avenant)

1995 - 2001:

“Bats of the Free State”: Talk at the Botanical Society of South Africa, Bloemfontein.

Slide show on Marion Island at the Ouditorium of the National Museum - open to public.

“Kleinsoogdiere van die Vrystaat / Small mammals of the Free State”: talk to the “Voortrekkers”, University of the Free State Commando.

“Vlermuise”: talk to “Landsdiens” pupils at Florisbad.

“Rietrotte”: talks on radio (Radio Sonder Grense “Ekoforum”; Radio Punt).

“Paargedrag”: talk on radio (Radio Hoogland).

“Environmental monitoring in the Maluti’s” (OFM Radio).

“Small mammals”: talk to members and interested persons, Odendaalsrus Urban Conservancy.

BBC Wildlife Series – telephonic & e-mail correspondences on caracal (with Peter Bassett, Adam Chapman and Alexandra Lang).

Cane rats; Bats; Civets; Impact Assessments – Die Volksblad, Express, Noordelike Stem, Forum, Vrystaat, Vista newspapers.

Mammalogy in the Maluti’s (Die Volksblad newspaper, Ons Stad newspaper).

2002-present:

“Big Five” educational computer game (on the mammals of Africa) – Prof. N. du Plessis, Bloemfontein, 2002.

Bats: Diversity, biology, control and housing; three lectures during “Science, Engineering & Technology Week”, Bloemfontein, 2002.

Comparative small mammal research in Australia. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, 2003.

The wonderful world of Bats; three lectures during “Science, Engineering & Technology Week”, Bloemfontein, 2003.

The wonderful world of Bats; four lectures at Universitas Primary School, reaching c. 400 kids from Grade 1 to 4. Bloemfontein, 2003.

“Environmental monitoring in the Maluti’s”. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, 2003.

“Ecological research in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho - mammals”. Bethuli High School, Bethuli, 2003.

“Centro al Faunalia: uno studio su piccoli mammiferi”. In: Il Tirreno, 30/9/03.

“Conserving Mountain Biodiversity in Southern Lesotho”. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, 2004.

“Sub-Antarctic birds”: Free State Ornithological Society, Bloemfontein, 2004.

“The wonderful world of Bats”. Association for Retired Persons and Pensioners, Bloemfontein, 2004.

“Die belang van Vlermuise” (The importance of Bats), Vrystaat Landbou Unie, Tierpoort, 2004.

“Klein soogdiere” (Small mammals), Radio Rosestad, Bloemfontein, 2005.

“Vlermuise” (Bats – two talks), Radio Rosestad, Bloemfontein, 2005.

“Rats” (Guest speaker, about rats used to indicate undetonated landmines), Rotarians, Bloemfontein branch, 2005.

“Japan” (Feedback on IMC9-conference, wildlife and wildlife areas, ecological research, culture & gardening). National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, 2005.

“IMC9 & international collaboration”. Vrystaat Landbou Unie, Tierpoort-tak, 2005.

“Bats”. Heidedal Library Reading Group, National Museum, 2005.

“Those mammals we do not see”. Lecture and field training to pupils from St. Stithians during a 3-day canoeing trip on the Orange River; required as an activity for the President’s Award. 2006.

Reply to: “Probleembeheer-kursus” (on caracal, black-backed jackal and farmers). In: Smiffie (Smithfield local newspaper). May 2006.

"The value of using animal communities as an indicator of habitat change/rehabilitation/recovery" (WWF Cambodia). September 2006.

“The 3rd International Conference on Rodent Biology and Management, and research in the Srepok Conservation Area, Cambodia”. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, 2006.

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“Klein soogdiere”, Die Volksblad newspaper. March 2007.

“Small mammals”, Bloemfontein Zoo Snooze. March 2007.

“Antarctica Month”, Express newspaper, 3 March 2007.

“The South African National Antarctic Program”. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, June 2007 (part of International Antarctica Month celebrations).

”A Strategic Environmental Assessment in the Senqu Sources area”. National Museum Auditorium, Bloemfontein, June 2007.

“Be part of Antarctica Month”, Express newspaper, 5 June 2007.

“Kundige van Bloemfontein praat op symposium in Benin”. Ons Stad newspaper, 8 November 2007.

“Onderneem veldwerksessie”. Bloemnuus newspaper, 9 November 2007.

Popular lecture presented to pupils from the Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind (an opportunity for the children to also touch the small mammals), National Museum, Bloemfontein. November 2007.

“Kundige praat in Benin”. Bloemnuus newspaper, 23 November 2007.

Giving persons with disabilities a lift – improved access at the National Museum!!” (Proposing and coordinating the temporary exhibition). To provide visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing and physically disabled visitors with an informative and enjoyable museum experience, and to create a greater awareness of the needs and requirements of persons with disabilities. The feedback from the successful temporary exhibition was invaluable in the planning of Phase 2, on how to best accommodate and cater for these people on a permanent basis. National Museum, Bloemfontein. 2007 – present.

“Exhibition for the disabled”. Radio Rosestad, 5 May 2008.

“Inauguration of our lift”. Radio Rosestad, 19 May 2008.

“Museum in Bfn nou toeganklik vir gestremdes”. Die Volksblad newspaper, 21 May 2008.

“Museum ingerig vir gestremdes”. Bloemnuus newspaper, 30 May 2008.

“Giving persons with disabilities a lift – improved access at the National Museum!!”. DAC internal newsletter, July 2008.

“Geen gebrek keer gestremdes hier”. Die Volksblad newspaper, 11 Julie 2008.

“Museum for the disabled”. Radio Rosestad. 13 July 2008.

“Unique exhibition opened”. Express newspaper, 16 Julie 2008.

“Fokus”, SABC2: Television coverage on the NMB Exhibition for the Disabled. Augustus 2008.

“’n Uitstalling vir gestremdes”, Leefwêreld van die Gestremde, Radio Sonder Grense, August 2008.

“Benin & Oxford”. Talk for the museum staff, National Museum, Bloemfontein, September 2008.

“Mammals of the Free State”. Talk at the Friends of the Zoo Open Day, 31 October 2009.

“Mammal diversity: good indicators of environmental health?”. Part of the 2010 Biodiversity lecture series, NMB auditorium, September 2010.

“Small mammals: their role in the ecosystem, and value to conservation management”. Presented for the Northern Cape branch of the Wildlife Society of South Africa (WESSA), Kimberley, February 2011.

“Biodiversity Management in the Free State: terrestrial ecosystems”. Motheo College, Bloemfontein, August 2011.

Presenting a lecture at the University of the Third Age: “Small mammals… their role in the ecosystem (and value to conservation management)”, 3 November 2011.

One of the invited speakers at the Predator Management Day, 20 October 2011, Beaufort West: “The problem, and dealing with it - an ecologist’s perspective”.

“Vlermuisspesies eerste keer in Vrystaat aangeteken”. Volksblad, 24/2/2012.

One of the invited speakers at a Predator Technology Transfer Day, 16 February 2012, Glen Agricultural Institute, Bloemfontein: “The problem, and dealing with it - an ecologist’s perspective”.

An invited speaker at a Hunters Meeting, the Bloemfontein Problem Animal Branch, 11 April 2012: “Caracal / Black-backed jackal issues”.

Presenting a talk for Grade 10 Biology pupils at Bethulie High School: “Problem animals in the southern Free State - our research near Bethulie”, 5 June 2012.

Invited speaker at the Skilpadfees, Florisbad, 2 June 2012: “Mammal diversity in the Free State”.

Presenting a lecture at the University of the Third Age: “Damage-causing animals in the Free State: a threat to biodiversity?”, 8 November 2012.

Presenting a lecture to 10 Karoo Ecology Research Unit (KERU) students/visitors: “Mammal diversity in the Free State”, 24 June 2013.

Presenting an educational, popular scientific talk for Tswalu personnel (including 8 game guides and 4 Nature Conservation students) at Tswalu Nature Reserve: “Small mammals”, 28 July 2014.

Presenting a talk on Radio Rosestad (12 minutes): “The National Museum, catering for visitors with disabilities”, 6 August 2014.

Presenting an educational, popular scientific talk for children at the Fichardt Park Library: “Small mammals”, 11 December 2014.

Collaborated with two artists on the “Inquisitive Mind” Oliewenhuis curated exhibition, October – December 2014.

Nico Avenant & Jurie du Plessis 2015. Small mammals as indicators of ecological integrity, Kolomela Mine. A popular scientific presentation for managers and the Environmental division at Kolomela Mine, Postmasburg: 5 February 2015.

Nico Avenant 2016. Carnivores and their prey in South Africa’s Grassland Biome; an educational, popular scientific talk and practical (touch) experience for the Rondevouz Club, Free State Society for the Blind: 20 April 2016.

Nico Avenant & Jurie du Plessis 2016. Die gebruik van kleinsoogdiertjies om omgewingstoestand op die Kolemela myn te moniteer / Using small mammals to monitor the ecological integrity at Kolomela Mine. A popular scientific presentation for the Postmasburg Environmental Forum, Soetfontein Guest Farm, Postmasburg: 25 May 2016.

Nico Avenant. The smaller mammals of the Free State. Visitors tour behind the scenes, Mammalogy Reference Collection Room, National Museum, Bloemfontein: 6 October 2016.

Nico Avenant, Ronny Nokha and Tshediso Putsane. The Mammals of the Free State: a touch experience for visually impaired persons. To the Aganang Support Group, Free State Society for the Blind, at the Free State Society for the Blind offices, Sunday School Building, Maitland Street, Bloemfontein, 14 October 2016.

Nico Avenant, Ronny Nokha and Tshediso Putsane. Visit to the National Museum exhibitions: a talk and touch experience, Aganang Support Group, Free State Society for the Blind, at the National Museum Exhibition Hall, Bloemfontein: 6 June 2017.

Nico Avenant. Kleinsoogdiertjies: hul posisie en rol in die ekosisteem, en potensiële rol in die bestuur van predasie / Small mammals: their position and role in the ecosystem, and potential role in predation management. Honorary Game Rangers, Free State Region, at: The Willows, Bloemfontein, 3 June 2017.

Nico Avenant. Tour through the NMB exhibitions, specifically referring to our attempts to cater for persons with disabilities, including a 60min talk about "Small mammals, and their position and role in the ecosystem" in the Childrens' Museum, at the National Museum, Bloemfontein: 27 September 2017.

Nico Avenant. Small mammals ... their role in ecosystems. The Friends of the Seven Dams Conservancy, Bloemfontein. 17 October 2017.

Nico Avenant. Carnivores: aspects of natural and captive management. First Game School, for game farmers in South Africa. Aldam Resort, Winburg district, 14 & 15 March 2018.

Articles placed on the Museum’s online publication site (nationalmuseum-publications.co.za):

  1. Two hedgehogs rescued from the pet trade, 12 February 2019;
  2. The smaller carnivores of the Free State – a Mammal exhibition at Fichardtpark library, 25 February 2019.
Publications - Mammal Checklists

QwaQwa National Park, Free State

Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve, Free State

Sandveld Nature Reserve, Free State

Korannaberg Conservancy, Free State

Kogelbeen Caves, Griekwastad, Northern Cape

Collections

The collection currently totals approximately 12 800 specimens of many different species, which can be loaned by research institutions (see loan policy). The collection contains the following material:

  • Study skins
  • Skulls
  • Complete skeletons
  • Baculums
  • Embryos
  • Wet collection


Species represented in the collection:

  • Order Afrosoricida
    Family CHRYSOCHLORIDAE Gray, 1825Amblysomus hottentotus (A. Smith, 1829)
     Chlorotalpa sclateri (Broom, 1907)
  • Order Carnivora
    Family HYAENIDAE Gray, 1821Parahyaena brunnea (Thunberg, 1820)
     Proteles cristatus (Sparrman, 1783)
    Family FELIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Acinonyx jubatus (Schreber, 1775)
     Caracal caracal (Schreber, 1776)
     Felis nigripes Burchell, 1824
     Felis silvestris Forster, 1780
     Leptailurus serval (Schreber, 1776)
     Panthera leo (Linnaeus, 1758)
     Panthera pardus (Linnaeus, 1758)
    Family VIVERRIDAE Gray, 1821Civettictis civetta (Schreber, 1776)
     Genetta genetta Linnaeus, 1758
     Genetta tigrina (Schreber, 1776)
    Family HERPESTIDAE Bonaparte, 1845Atilax paludinosus (G. Cuvier, 1829)
     Cynictis penicillata (G. Cuvier, 1829)
     Galerella pulverulenta (Wagner, 1839)
     Galerella sanguinea (Rüppell, 1836)
     Ichneumia albicauda (G. Cuvier, 1829)
     Suricata suricatta (Schreber, 1776)
    Family CANIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Canis mesomelas Schreber, 1775
     Lycaon pictus (Temminck, 1820)
     Otocyon megalotis (Desmarest, 1822)
     Vulpes chama (A. Smith, 1833)
    Family MUSTELIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Aonyx capensis (Schinz, 1821)
     Ictonyx striatus (Perry, 1810)
     Poecilogale albinucha (Gray, 1864)
  • Order Chiroptera
    Family PTEROPODIDAE Gray, 1821Eidolon helvum (Kerr, 1792)
     Epomophorus wahlbergi (Sundevall, 1846)
    Family MOLOSSIDAE Gervais, 1856Tadarida aegyptiaca (E. Geoffroy, 1818)
    Family VESPERTILIONIDAE Gray, 1821Cistugo lesueuri (Roberts, 1919)
     Eptesicus hottentotus (A. Smith, 1833)
     Laephotis wintoni Setzer, 1971
     Miniopterus schreibersii (Kuhl, 1817)
     Myotis tricolor (Temminck, 1832)
     Myotis welwitschii (Gray, 1866)
     Neoromicia capensis (A. Smith, 1829)
     Pipistrellus kuhlii (Kuhl, 1817)
     Scotophilus dinganii (A. Smith, 1833)
    Family NYCTERIDAE Van der Hoeven, 1855Nycteris thebaica E. Geoffroy, 1813
    Family RHINOLOPHIDAE Gray, 1825Rhinolophus clivosus Cretzschmar, 1828
     Rhinolophus darlingi K. Anderson, 1905
     Rhinolophus denti Thomas, 1904
  • Order Eulipotyphla
    Family SORICIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Crocidura cyanea (Duvernoy, 1838)
     Crocidura flavescens (I. Geoffroy, 1827)
     Crocidura fuscomurina (Heuglin, 1865)
     Crocidura hirta Peters, 1852
     Crocidura mariquensis (A. Smith, 1844)
     Myosorex varius (Smuts, 1832)
     Suncus infinitesimus (Heller, 1912)
     Suncus varilla (Thomas, 1895)
    Family ERINACEIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Atelerix frontalis A. Smith, 1831
  • Order Hyracoidea
    Family PROCAVIIDAE Thomas, 1892Procavia capensis (Pallas, 1766)
  • Order Lagomorpha
    Family LEPORIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Lepus capensis Linnaeus, 1758
     Lepus saxatilis F. Cuvier, 1823
     Pronolagus rupestris (A. Smith, 1834)
  • Order Macroscelidea
    Family MACROSCELIDIDAE Bonaparte, 1838Elephantulus myurus Thomas & Schwann, 1906
     Elephantulus rupestris (A. Smith, 1831)
  • Order Perissodactyla
    Family RHINOCEROTIDAE Gray, 1821Ceratotherium simum (Burchell, 1817)
     Diceros bicornis (Linnaeus, 1758)
    Family EQUIDAE Gray, 1821Equus quagga (Gray, 1824)
  • Order Pholidota
    Family MANIDAE Gray, 1821Manis temminckii Smuts, 1832
  • Order Primates
    Family CERCOPITHECIDAE Gray, 1821Cercopithecus pygerythrus (F. Cuvier, 1821)
     Papio hamadryas (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Order Proboscidea
    Family ELEPHANTIDAE Gray, 1821Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach, 1797)
  • Order Rodentia
    Family BATHYERGIDAE Waterhouse, 1841Cryptomys hottentotus (Lesson, 1826)
    Family HYSTRICIDAE G. Fischer, 1817Hystrix africaeaustralis Peters, 1852
    Family THRYONOMYIDAE Pocock, 1922Thryonomys swinderianus (Temminck, 1827)
    Family PEDETIDAE Gray, 1825Pedetes capensis (Forster, 1778)
    Family SCIURIDAE Hemprich, 1820Xerus inauris (Zimmermann, 1780)
    Family MYOXIDAE Gray 1821Graphiurus murinus (Desmarest, 1822)
     Graphiurus ocularis (A. Smith, 1829)
    Family MURIDAE Illiger, 1815Acomys spinosissimus (Peters, 1852)
     Acomys subspinosus (Waterhouse, 1838)
     Dendromus melanotis A. Smith, 1834
     Dendromus mesomelas (Brants, 1827)
     Dendromus mystacalis Heuglin, 1863
     Desmodillus auricularis (A. Smith, 1834)
     Gerbillurus paeba (A. Smith, 1836)
     Grammomys dolichurus (Smuts, 1832)
     Lemniscomys rosalia (Thomas, 1904)
     Malacothrix typica (A. Smith, 1834)
     Mastomys coucha (A. Smith, 1836)
     Mastomys natalensis (A. Smith, 1834)
     Micaelamys namaquensis (A. Smith, 1834)
     Mus indutus (Thomas, 1910)
     Mus minutoides A. Smith, 1834
     Mus orangiae (Roberts, 1926)
     Mystromys albicaudatus (A. Smith, 1834)
     Otomys irroratus (Brants, 1827)
     Otomys saundersiae Roberts, 1929
     Otomys sloggetti Thomas, 1902
     Otomys unisulcatus F. Cuvier, 1829
     Rhabdomys pumilio (Sparrmann, 1784)
     Saccostomus campestris Peters, 1846
     Tatera brantsii (A. Smith, 1836)
     Tatera leucogaster (Peters, 1852)
  • Order Ruminantia
    Family BOVIDAE Gray, 1821Aepyceros melampus (Lichtenstein, 1812)
     Alcelaphus buselaphus (Pallas, 1766)
     Antidorcas marsupialis (Zimmermann, 1780)
     Connochaetes gnou (Zimmerman, 1780)
     Connochaetes taurinus (Burchell, 1823)
     Damaliscus lunatus (Burchell, 1823)
     Damaliscus pygargus (Pallas, 1767)
     Hippotragus equinus (Desmarest, 1804)
     Hippotragus niger (Harris, 1838)
     Oreotragus oreotragus (Zimmermann, 1783)
     Oryx gazella (Linnaeus, 1758)
     Pelea capreolus (Forster, 1790)
     Raphicerus campestris (Thunberg, 1811)
     Redunca arundinum (Boddaert, 1785)
     Redunca fulvorufula (Afzelius, 1815)
     Sylvicapra grimmia (Linnaeus, 1758)
     Syncerus caffer (Sparrman, 1779)
     Tragelaphus oryx (Pallas, 1766)
     Tragelaphus scriptus (Pallas, 1766)
     Tragelaphus strepsiceros (Pallas, 1766)
  • Order Suiformes
    Family SUIDAE Gray, 1821Phacochoerus africanus (Gmelin, 1788)
  • Order Tubulidentata
    Family ORYCTEROPODIDAE Gray, 1821Orycteropus afer (Pallas, 1766)
Collaboration

Mammology-collaboration

Research staff collaborate locally with the following:

  • University of the Free State
  • Central University of Technology
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • Free State Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
  • Education and Design Departments of the National Museum

 

Current international collaboration include working with the:

  • Zoologischer Garten Köln, Köln, Germany (Dr. A. Sliwa)
  • University of Montpellier, France (Dr. G. Ganem)
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (Prof. M. Sponheimer)
  • National Museum Natural History, Prague, Czech Republic (Dr. P. Benda)

 

Services Offered
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Post-graduate supervision
  • Lecturing and Practicals (tertiary level)
  • Field schools and popular scientific lectures
Loan Policy

Internationally accepted museum loan protocol is followed. Material will be loaned to the Director, Head of Department or permanent senior scientist of a reputable scientific institution only, and not to private individuals.

For further information, contact the Head of Department: navenant@nasmus.co.za

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