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- Legal status
Unprotected outside of reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, and not listed in the SA Red Data Book nor any CITES appendices.
- Distribution and status
G. tigrina is the commonest, most widely distributed carnivore in KwaZulu-Natal. It has been regularly recorded in all bioclimatic regions, except Drier upland grassland where it is absent or rare. The overall distribution range has not changed and population status is stable.
Museum specimens, collected between 1912 and 1977, originate from Cathedral Peak, Donnybrook, Elandslaagte, Harding, Highflats, Hillary, Hillcrest, Howick, Hluhluwe GR, Ingwavuma, Lowlands, Maphelana, Mkhuze GR, Mount Edgecombe, Ngoya, Ndumo GR, Oribi Gorge NR, Pietermaritzburg, Queen Elizabeth Park, Renishaw, Richmond, Royal Natal National Park, Umdoni Park, Umhlanga, Underberg, Vernon Crookes NR, and Weza State Forest. Recent specimens are from Bayzlee Beach, Durban, and St Lucia.
Its presence has currently been recorded in the following protected areas : Bluff, Cape Vidal, Cathedral Peak, Cobham, Coleford, Dlinza Forest, Doreen Clark, Eastern Shores, Enseleni, Entumeni, False Bay, Garden Castle, Giant's Castle, Harold Johnson, Hluhluwe, Ithala, Kamberg, Karkloof, Kenneth Stainbank, Krantzkloof, Lake Eteza, Lotheni, Maphelana, Midmar, Mkhuze, Monk's Cowl, Moor Park, Mount Currie, Mpenjati, Oribi Gorge, Pongola Bush, Queen Elizabeth Park, Richards Bay, Royal Natal National Park, Sodwana Bay, Sodwana State Forest, Spioenkop, St Lucia, Umfolozi, Umlalazi, Umtamvuna, Umvoti Vlei, Vernon Crookes, Vryheid Hill and Weenen.
- Living requirements
Large-spotted genets show a preference for well-wooded, moist areas (including alien plantations), fairly close to permanent water. Large trees are selected as resting places in preference to dense grass cover (Maddock 1988; Maddock & Perrin in press), and rock overhangs and caves are also used. Shelter is even taken in buildings. The most important items in both stomach contents (Rowe-Rowe 1978a) and in faecal analysis (Maddock 1988; Maddock & Perrin in press; Rowe-Rowe unpubl. data) were small mammals and insects. Fruits, birds, reptiles, frogs, myriapods, and spiders are also eaten. Home ranges at Vernon Crookes NR were 50 - 100 ha (Maddock 1988), and estimated density 4,4/km², which is greater than estimates of 0,5 - 1,5/km² for east Africa (Hendrichs 1972; Waser 1980).
- Social organisation
Adult genets are solitary (Maddock 1988; Maddock & Perrin in press; Rowe-Rowe 1978a). It is not known whether large-spotted genets are territorial.
- Population dynamics
Young are born mainly during spring and summer (Rowe-Rowe 1978a). Gestation is similar to that of G. genetta (70 - 77 days). Litters of up to three have been recorded. The eyes open at 10 days and canine teeth erupt at four weeks (Rowe-Rowe 1971). Age at weaning has not been established. Prey is first killed at 22 - 28 weeks. The deciduous canine teeth are shed after the permanent canines have erupted, just prior to asymptotic mass being reached at ca. 11 months. A growth curve is provided by Rowe-Rowe (1971). The sex ratio of trapped and shot animals was 1 : 1.
There are no known threats. Pringle (1977) believed that G. tigrina was becoming rarer outside of protected areas. Rowe-Rowe (1978a) did not support this opinion and rated status as stable and secure, as is the rating in this study.
- Human importance
In traditional medicine pieces of genet skin are used as stick-fight charms, or to decorate hats, and parts of the body are used in treatment of eyes. Some people eat the flesh (Cunningham & Zondi 1991).
Domestic poultry is often killed by genets in both rural and peri-urban areas. It is therefore regarded as a problem animal by those that suffer losses.
THE CARNIVORES OF NATAL
D T ROWE-ROWE