Day 1 (October 30th)
At 07:00, Johan Malan of the Game Capture Unit from South African National Parks Board (SANParks), together with three assistants, brought four cage traps to the Singita Concession. The cage traps would be used to capture two leopards, a male and a female, for collaring. Thomas Ramabulana, the section ranger from this area allowed four of his staff to come and help. In total, there were nine of us. Aeron and Francois also tagged along.
We then went and placed all the cages in areas of prime leopard activities. The cages are placed into trees to avoid lions, hyenas and other non-target animals from getting trapped. Placing a cage big enough to capture a leopard is labour intensive because the cages are heavy. It’s not a piece o’ cake!!
Good news for us, Johan and his guys knew how to place the cages like the back of their hands. By 15:00 we were done. Johan then took some time to explain to me how to bait and arm the cages. He and his guys then bid us farewell and went on their way. Thomas’ guys did the same. By that time it was too late to go and bait the cages, so I also called it a day.
I would worry about that the following day...
Joining AWF in 2007, Nakedi is the latest addition to AWF's team of species researchers in Africa. Working in the Limpopo region, where he's from, Nakedi's studying the great cats to shape conservation strategies that will benefit communities he's known all his life. Looking at Nakedi's focus areas as a zoologist – Cytogenetics, Molecular Biology, and Geometric Morphometrics – it's easy to see he is serious about conservation. Leopards as a species especially interested him because they are both powerful and elusive – making it a challenge to study and protect them.
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