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Next Steps for Leopard Collaring

  • 01/27/09
  • Nakedi

After losing the collared leopard I spent the week moving cage traps to other areas in the hope of capturing two other leopards to collar for research. During that period I worked with some of the guys from Singita’s guiding department. This was a very good exercise as I could see how well those guys know their area; it was as if they knew each tree or grass at a personal level.

We successfully moved two cages on the first day and the last cage two days later due to the rain. The thing with setting traps is that we have to look for trees with big NO LION signs on them. These trees as you can imagine have to be almost impossible to climb and much worse, to place a cage trap on them. Sometimes we have to climb these trees in the process. So when it rains the bark becomes slippery making it a tricky business to climb.

I remember falling hard the other day after baiting one of the traps. Of course we use ladders, but on that fateful day I tried to see firsthand how they did it during the stone ages. NOT A SMART THING TO DO!!

I will start baiting traps in a few days time and hopefully we will have a successful run and capture two leopards next week. The picture below illustrates how high some of the cages have to be placed.

[caption id="attachment_401" align="aligncenter" width="198" caption="Leopard trap high in a tree."]Leopard trap high in a tree.[/caption]

About the Author

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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