Unlikely bundu hitchhiker has wildlife fundis aflutter

2014-09-04 00:00

A GENET that hitched a ride on the back of a buffalo was the talk of social media yesterday.

Environmental organisation Wildlife Act posted on Facebook pictures captured by cameras at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve of the genet, happily perched on top of the buffalo.

Zoë Luhdo, who posted the images, said, “Often when different species are photographed together, it is because the species have known associations. However, these images have utterly stumped both me and the conservation volunteers.

“I have never heard of these two species being seen together — never mind being caught doing what they did …” Luhdo said.

Chris Galliers, a unit leader in biodiversity at the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa in Howick, said the two were no peas in a pod.

“This is certainly not common – possibly because genets are nocturnal and can be fairly shy animals.

“This is a buffalo bull which is possibly solitary (as old buffalo bulls can become) or in a small bachelor group. It is doubtful that the genet would have done this on a buffalo which was part of a breeding herd.”

He said the commotion and close proximity in which the animals travel would have been too risky for the genet.

“The only similar interaction that I have seen is a young leopard jumping onto the back of an adult white rhino. The rhino did not care too much initially but when it smelt the cat it become concerned and ran off.”

Galliers said the genet was no threat to the buffalo: “[It’s] so nice to see how nature always has the ability to show us something new — aided by technology of course!”

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za

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