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Discovering tomorrow

Centre for African Conservation Ecology

28/03/2011

A book titled Historical Incidence of the Larger Land Mammals in the broader Western and Northern Cape was officially launched at NMMU last week. This A4- sized 535-page volume, written by the legendary zoologist and historian CJ Skead and published by the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, is a companion to the 2007 volume titled Historical Incidence of the Larger Land Mammals in the broader Eastern Cape, also authored by CJ Skead.

The book contains a brief review of the mammal position when the first European visitors and settlers arrived at the Cape, as well as descriptions of the nature of the veld in the area in question, based on the contents of the diaries and journals of these early travellers and settlers. The main part of the book comprises a fully revised account of the known historical distribution records for a wide range of mammal species, usually according to a number of defined geographical regions. The majority of the records relate to the larger game species, and particularly to those which were relatively easily identified and seen by the early observers. Maps showing the distribution of the historical records are presented for 44 species, and for these species and certain others a useful interpretation of their historical distribution records is provided. One chapter provides a review of the patterns and trends in the status of the larger mammals, and it identifies those species that went extinct in, or that were exterminated from, the area. A final chapter lists and provides comments on alien (non-indigenous) larger mammal species that have been introduced in the area in question, or into parts of it. Importantly, it provides information and discussion on the known and potential ecological consequences or impacts of introduced species.

The book is an important source of information for a wide range of users, especially environmental historians, state conservation planners and managers, owners of private game reserves and game farmers, eco-tourism operators and EIA practitioners, and national and provincial government departments responsible for compiling and implementing biodiversity policies and guidelines.

Both books can be ordered from the Centre for African Conservation Ecology at ace@nmmu.ac.za or 041 504 2316.

Peggy Collins and VC

Mrs Peggy Collins (Jack Skead’s daughter) and Prof Derrick Swart, Vice Chancellor of NMMU, at the book launch

Editors of Skead book

Editors of the revised book, Mr Peter Lloyd, Cape Nature; Dr André Boshoff, Centre for African Conservation Ecology (ACE) and Prof Graham Kerley, Director of ACE with Prof Derrick Swart, Vice Chancellor of NMMU