THE Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is not the place to go for if you want to see mammals but nevertheless it contains a good diversity of small mammals, most of which are nocturnal. One species that is cathemeral (is active both during the day and night) and is frequently spotted is the Bushbuck. There are two species of Bushbuck in Southern Africa and in our area the species is Tragelaphus sylvaticus.
The bushbuck is the most common antelope in the reserve and the one you are most likely to see. Good areas to spot them are the forest margins along the Molweni River or other streams. Bushbuck are solitary, non-territorial antelopes. Neither the male nor the female defend any part of their home range, so many ranges overlap. They are most active during the early mornings and at night, therefore are almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are likely to be disturbed. Mature bushbuck rams make a point of staying out of one another’s way. They tend to walk with very deliberate high-legged steps, frequently placing the hind foot in the exact spot where the forefoot had been, in an effort to negotiate the tangled undergrowth. Only the males have horns and they are good swimmers.
Bushbuck are mainly browsers but are also known to eat grass when out from their usual habitat of the understory. They are selective feeders, but during hardship are able to adapt their feeding habits for the sake of survival.
Outside of the reserve, the bushbuck are under threat from habitat loss due to housing developments and habitat change, where people have cleared the indigenous bush along streams to plant lawn or crops. Homes along streams and forest margins are also frequently fenced, thereby destroying the natural corridors through which bushbuck move.
Bushbuck are not uncommon visitors to Kloof homes and roads where, unfortunately, they often succumb to being run over by speeding vehicles, attacks by dogs, electric fencing and even drowning in swimming pools. — Supplied.