The next day (October 31), John Varty (JV), Andy Coetzee, Francois Botha, Hendri and I went out to bait the cages.
JV is famous for his work with big cats and his tiger project down in the Karoo. Andy has more than twenty years of experience working with wildlife and has also been in the army. Francois and Hendri are cameramen who will be filming the events for National Geographic Live, which will be airing live in 166 countries worldwide from Sunday November 9th until Saturday November 15th.
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.
In the last blog I spoke about animals crossing the border in to Mozambique. Sometimes they don’t come back!!
On Friday October 24th I went in to Mozambique together with Francois and Erin and ended up on the border with the Kruger National Park. About 80 metres from the fence we spotted a lioness that lay motionless against a tree trunk. She didn’t look like she was alive, so we cautiously walked towards her.
Upon arrival we saw that she was dead and had a big wound around her neck.
During the week of October 20th we’ll add the second aspect of the leopard research. The first two of the twelve leopards will be captured and collared. The other ten will subsequently be collared, depending on the rate of success with fund raising. The type of collar that we’ll use is the GSM or cell phone collar.
For starts, we will collar a male and a female. The use of collars will help us to
It is a struggle to capture leopard pictures at this point. We are heading towards the end of the dry season and somehow animal movements have been altered. I cannot say this with confidence because I am currently sampling the southern part of the concession, which is a rugged terrain and has a limited number of roads. At the same time however, water is the limiting factor for most animals and as a result their movements should be in association with the distribution of water points.