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.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.1. Savanna - Dry
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
0. Root -> 6. Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
8. Desert -> 8.1. Desert - Hot
8. Desert -> 8.2. Desert - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Barry, R.E. and Mundy, P.J. 1998. Population dynamics of two species of hyraxes in the Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe. African Journal of Ecology 36: 221-233.

Boitani, L. 1998. African Mammals Databank - A Databank for the Conservation and Management of the African Mammals. Report to the Directorate-General for Development of the European Commission, Bruxelles.

Bothma, J. du P. 1971. Order Hyracoidea. In: J. Meester and H.H. Setzer (eds), The Mammals of Africa: An Identification Manual, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Coe, M.J. 1962. Notes on the habits of the Mount Kenya hyrax (Procavia johnstoni mackinderi Thomas). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 138: 639-644.

Hahn, H. 1934. Die Familie der Procaviidae. Zeitschift für Säugetierkunde 9: 207-358.

Harrison, D.L. and Bates, P.J.J. 1991. The Mammals of Arabia. Harrison Zoological Museum, Sevenoaks, UK.

Hoeck, H.N. 1975. Differential feeding behavior of the sympatric hyrax Procavia johnstoni and Heterohyrax brucei. Oecologia 22: 15-49.

Hoeck, H.N. and Bloomer, P. 2013. Rock Hyrax Procavia capensis. In: J.S. Kingdon, D.H.D. Happold, T.M. Butynski, M. Hoffmann, M. Happold and J. Kalina (eds), Mammals of Africa. Vol. I: Introductory Chapters and Afrotheria, pp. 166-171. Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Hoeck, H.N., Klein, H. and Hoeck, P. 1982. Flexible social organization in hyrax. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 59: 265-298.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. Available at: (Accessed: 23 June 2015).

Kingdon, J. 1997. The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego, California, USA.

Kingdon, J.S. 1971. East African Mammals. An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Academic Press, London, UK.

Kryštufek, B. and Vohralík, V. 2001. Mammals of Turkey and Cyprus. Zgodovinsko drustvo za juzno Primorsko, Koper, Slovenia.

Mendelssohn, H. and Yom-Tov, Y. 1999. Mammalia of Israel. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

Olds, N. and Shoshani, J. 1982. Procavia capensis. Mammalian Species 171: 1-7.

Schlitter, D.A. 1993. Order Hyracoidea. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, pp. 373-374. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Shoshani, J. 2005. Order Hyracoidea. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 87-89. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Skinner, J.D. and Chimimba, C.T. (eds). 2005. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom, Cambridge.

Young, T.P. and Evans, M.R. 1993. Alpine vertebrates of Mount Kenya, with particular notes on the rock hyrax. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum 82(202): 55-79.

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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