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).
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.
To successfully estimate leopard numbers in the concession, each leopard has to be individually identified by the unique spot patterns found on its flanks and face. Each leopard has its own unique spot pattern, like fingerprints on humans.
Currently I’m in the process of quantifying leopard numbers in the concession. This has proven not to be an easy task which requires a lot of time to plan and acquire proper equipment. Firstly we had to purchase equipment from the United States, but then had to wait for two weeks for the cameras to be released from the customs services at the airport.
The Leopard Project is in the Limpopo Heartland situated in southern Africa. The Heartland is spread over three countries: Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The work area chosen for the project is in the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas/communities in South Africa and Mozambique. For starts, the project is running at the N’wanetsi Concession (Popularly known as Singita Kruger National Park).