Procavia capensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Hyracoidea Procaviidae

Scientific Name: Procavia capensis (Pallas, 1766)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Rock Hyrax, Rock Dassie
French Daman de rocher
Cavia capensis Pallas, 1766
Heterohyrax antineae Heim de Balsac & Bégouen, 1932
Taxonomic Notes:

This taxon is split into separate species by some authors, including Cape Hyrax P. capensis, Abyssinian Hyrax P. habessinica, Johnston’s Hyrax P. johnstoni, and Western Hyrax P. ruficeps (Hahn 1934, Kingdon 1971). Recent classifications recognize 17 subspecies. The validity of some of those is, however, ambiguous, and it is regarded here as monotypic, following more recent classifications (Olds and Shoshani 1982, Schlitter 1993, Shoshani 2005, Hoeck and Bloomer 2013). 

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-01-20
Assessor(s): Butynski, T., Hoeck, H., Koren, L. & de Jong, Y.A.
Reviewer(s): Taylor, A.
Contributor(s): Barry, R., Bloomer, P. & Shoshani, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Koren, L.

Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, the wide range of habitats it is supported by, presumed large populations, occurrence in a large number of big protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The species is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and northeast Africa, being discontinuously distributed from Senegal through southern Algeria (isolated population), Libya and Egypt (east of the Nile River) to central and southern Africa (excluding the Congo Basin forests) (Olds and Shoshani 1982, Hoeck and Bloomer 2013). Procavia capensis extends to the Arabian Peninsula, mainly in the west, and to Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel (Olds and Shoshani 1982, Harrison and Bates 1991, Shoshani 2005). Reports of the occurrence of this species in Turkey are in error, and there is no evidence for its current or historical occurrence in this country (Kryštufek and Vohralík 2001). Its occurrence in Syria also has not been confirmed (D. Kock pers. comm.).

Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Lebanon; Lesotho; Libya; Malawi; Mauritania; Mozambique; Namibia; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):4300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Widespread and abundant in drier rocky areas of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In some areas, such as in Matopos in Zimbabwe and the Serengeti of Tanzania (where they have been well-studied), they are characterized by extreme local population fluctuations (Hoeck and Bloomer 2013). On Mount Kenya, where they are considered among the most conspicuous of mammals, average density has been estimated at 20 - 100 animals per km (Young and Evans 1993).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Procavia capensis occupy a wide range of habitats, from arid deserts to rainforest, occurring from sea level to 4,300 m on Mount Kenya (Coe 1962, Young and Evans 1993); they are typically associated with rocky outcrops, cliffs or boulders (Hoeck and Bloomer 2013). They often occur in association with Bush Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei (Hoeck 1975, Barry and Mundy 1988). The diet comprises a variety of grasses, forbs and shrubs, with a predilection for new shoots, buds, fruits and berries (Hoeck and Bloomer 2013). A comprehensive review of its biology and literature is presented in Olds and Shoshani (1982) and in Hoeck and Bloomer (2013).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Rock Hyrax is snared for skins and meat. Poached for sport and meat in Saudi Arabia. This hunting appears to be heavy at some sites and is likely a major cause of its current restricted distribution in the country (T.M. Butynski pers. comm.).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no major threats to this species. However, it is hunted locally, and may have been extirpated in some smaller localities (Hoeck and Bloomer 2013, T.M. Butynski pers. comm.). In Israel, where the species is protected by law and has few natural enemies, their numbers have grown in cultivated areas and settlements, resulting in damage to crops and gardens and necessitating effective control measures (e.g., electric fences, culling) (Mendelssohn and Yom-Tov 1999, L. Koren pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species occurs in many large, well-protected areas across much of its range.

Citation: Butynski, T., Hoeck, H., Koren, L. & de Jong, Y.A. 2015. Procavia capensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41766A21285876. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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