After eight months of writing and re-writing the proposal, I am pleased to say that the study was finally given the green light by the South African National Parks (SANParks) Scientific Services (Prior to this I was allowed to use camera traps to do some monitoring while I waited for the verdict from the Scientific Services).
I crawled out of my tent at quarter to six. The sky was a dull grey-blue, with a few stars left scattered around the crescent moon. Shivani had already started Gypsy's engine, warming up the little white Suzuki. Joseph, the camp chef and general manager, trotted over with a thermos of hot chai and some bananas for breakfast. Lekuraiyo emerged from his tent wrapped in his red shuka and greeted us. We climbed into Gypsy and pulled out of camp to go find some lions.
On Sunday May 22nd we received a call from Steve Faulconbridge, the conservationist from Singita Kruger National Park (SKNP). He had just found the carcass of a male leopard probably in his prime in the north of the concession.
When the trackers go out with the gorillas, it’s not all picture-taking and gorilla games. There’s work to be done. During our trek, Damascene and Gabriel showed me the techniques they use to collect data on the gorillas and monitor the groups – a program called Ranger-Based Monitoring (RBM).