The Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis), a habitat specialist, is one of the most
endangered mammals in southern Africa due to the large-scale fragmentation of Karoo
riverine vegetation in South Africa that it inhabits. B. monticularis is an important indicator
of ecosystem health and an umbrella species for conservation of the unique riverine
ecosystems of the Karoo and the important ecological processes they maintain. This study
aimed to contribute towards our understanding of B. monticularis through an assessment
of historical survey data to better understand population status and distribution.
Geospatial analysis using GIS and distribution modelling was done using Maxent. Extent of
occurrence for the species is 54,227 km2 and area of occupancy 2,943 km2. Population size
estimates of between 157 and 207 mature individuals indicate extremely low population
size for B. monticularis and along with the estimate that no subpopulation contains more
than 50 mature individuals, supports the species’ continued listing as Critically Endangered
under IUCN Red List criteria C2a(i). Maxent models performed well in terms of predictive
ability and fit and continue to be a useful tool for assessing potential future conservation
and management actions for this species.