Distance sampling using line transects has become a well-known method for estimating densities of both large and small mammals in relatively open habitats, although it has not yet been reported for smaller mammals (<10 kg) in southern Africa. In 2007 and 2008 we used distance sampling to estimate numbers of springhares (Pedetes capensis), Cape hares (Lepus capensis) and steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) on farms near Kimberley, South Africa. Surveys for springhares and Cape hares were conducted on Benfontein Game Farm, whereas surveys for steenbok occurred on nearby small-livestock farms. We derived density estimates with relatively low 95% confidence intervals and coefficients of variation for all three species, with only moderate time spent in the field by researchers. Our results suggest distance sampling using line transects is a very useful and efficient technique for estimating densities of springhare, Cape hare and steenbok populations in relatively open and homogeneous habitats.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1