Servals - Preservation

Preserving Our Servals And Other Lesser-Felids

Wetland preservation is the main key to Serval conservation, as these areas harbor high rodent densities and form the core area of the Serval's home ranges. Of secondary importance is slowing the degradation of grasslands through annual burning, followed by overgrazing.

Some African tribes consider their flesh a delicacy. Servals occasionally kill domestic poultry, but the amount of this predation does not appear to be a problem. The Serval's preference for rodents actually benefits farmers, and they are not as actively hunted as other stock killers. However, indiscriminate poisoning campaigns to decrease rodent numbers also poison the carnivores that prey on them.

The main predators to Servals are leopards, dogs and humans. Their fine markings make them a prime target for poachers, and in 1979 - 1980 a total of 3,478 pelts were recorded as being traded. How many more were not recorded or were traded under some other name? Serval skins are also labeled and sold as being a young leopard (Panthera pardus) or a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), which are much rarer and more expensive. The Serval pelt trade appears to be domestic for ceremonial and medicinal purposes rather than for international export.