The new Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge is perched on a narrow ridge adjacent to the vast Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The lodge is the centerpiece – but not the only piece – of an array of business ventures recently developed by the Nkuringo community through the direction and support of AWF and International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP).
I managed to capture another leopard last Wednesday, December 10th. On that morning I went out with the tracking team including Eckson Ndlovu, Johnson Mhlanga, Sipps Maswanganyi, and Glass Marimane. When we got to the first trap Eckson, Johnson and yours truly stepped out of the vehicle to go and check if the trap had caught anything.
We walked for less than ten steps and suddenly Eckson jumped up in front of me with his hands raised and pointing in the direction of the trap “Xhi khomile!” meaning “it caught!”
This is way overdue, but was eclipsed by numerous events that took place in between. I apologise for that. Following the Aspen Seminar that was held in Johannesburg and Singita Sabi Sand in October 2008, Babu (who is on the AWF’s board of trustees) and Mama visited the leopard project at Singita Kruger National Park (SKNP). Having spent four days with them I got to see and understand how insightful and young at heart they are. As a result I got to relax a little around those two…
Medos Bokuwa Bolesa, a tracker since working with the Germans in the 1990s, and Isaac Lokili Lomboto, the youngest of all the trackers we trained, come face to face with the bonobos in this difficult season.
This difficult season is marked by the fact that there is very little food around and the big trees are lacking the fruit usually eaten by bonobos.
Since being collared the leopard has been providing us with very valuable information. Firstly his movement patterns suggest that he prefers drainage lines to open plains. This makes him one tough cat to find even with a collar. He is so good at hiding from this fellow who keeps following him no matter where he is; except of course when he is in Mozambique (I wonder if he’s picking up the trend).