Mammals of Letšeng

Letšeng Diamonds strives for a healthy and natural working and living environment, endeavouring to minimise its potential negative environmental impacts.

Since 2015, Letšeng has conducted bi-annual mammalian diversity monitoring studies to acquire an informed and scientific understanding of the impacts of operations on biodiversity, and the effectiveness of management measures.

In February 2023, Letšeng conducted the mammal monitoring study again, using infrared sensor cameras and direct observations to measure mammalian diversity in the Letšeng mining lease area (MLA). For comparison, the study also included the habitats immediately bordering the MLA.

Results

The recorded diversity of mammal species in the MLA remained stable since the onset of the monitoring surveys in 2015, with no apparent increases or decreases that can be attributed to mining activities. The total recorded mammal diversity at Letšeng stands at 16 species, representing 42.1% of the total mammal species recorded in Lesotho. The 2023 study found that:

  • across the five surveys conducted from 2015 to 2023, the persistent presence of large and medium-sized animals, such as Black-backed Jackal and Vaal Rhebok, provide evidence of the efficacy of the conservation actions implemented by Letšeng;
  • the consistent abundance of Sloggett rat and Natal Mole-rat within the MLA provides evidence of a stable environment;
  • the presence of the Vaal Rhebok, as a resident species of the Letšeng study area, is highly desirable and can effectively be used as an indicator species to determine healthy ecosystems; and
  • notably, the diversity of mammal species within the MLA has persistently remained higher than the diversity directly outside the area, demonstrating the beneficial effects that fencing and lower utilisation levels can have on biodiversity.
Mammals in the Letšeng Diamonds MLA
Hottentot Golden Mole Black-backed Jackal Southern African Mole-rat Wildcat
Forest Shrew Southern African Vlei Rat Sloggett's Rat Vaal Rhebok
Four-striped Grass Rat Southern African Mastomys Cape Serotine Cape Grey Mongoose
Cape Porcupine Egyptian Free-tailed Bat Egyptian Free-tailed Bat African striped weasel
 
Black-backed Jackal   Rock Hyrax
 
Slogget’s Rat   Vaal Rhebok