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Beauty Queen on the Catwalk

We have photographed three leopards that were previously not captured by our cameras at the Singita Kruger National Park (SKNP) concession. This is in addition to other leopards in the area. Nnzumbeni together with SKNP’s guiding team and in particular Glass Marimane did a splendid job of moving cameras to areas of leopard activities..

Yesterday while doing my rounds at SKNP I found that we captured a female leopard near the lodge. At first I thought it was one of the new individuals in the area, but it turned out to be a a female we have not captured for more than a year;  I am glad the old girl is still looking good. Incidentally, it is the first leopard that was captured when I first tried the use of camera traps about two years ago. Remember the “V” sign on her right flank? Now that the camera will not be moved from its position for the next few years, we will hopefully be able to document the duration of her land use tenure and if luck is with us, the number of cubs she’ll bear in her life time; or from this point onwards. The information gathered will be compared with data from other sections of the Kruger National Park in our quest to understand the drivers of leopard population dynamics in this ecosystem.

A quick note on the equipment’s top nemesis, the ellies: It is one elephant-sized challenge to escape them, but I’ll keep using pepper spray around the cameras. I am attaching a few clips from one of the cameras. The camera was left on video mode, and it happened to be on an elephant path. I have to admit they are amazing creatures; I just wish they weren’t so playful, pushy, and inquisitive around our equipment. I’m on the verge of leaving a sign with a huge “ELEPHANTS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THIS PATH.”

Next blog will be about plans for the year and things that happen in between.

About the Author

Nakedi joined AWF in 2007, working in the Limpopo region, where he's from. Nakedi's initial work was focused on studying the great cats to shape conservation strategies to benefit communities he's known all his life. In 2014, Nakedi moved on from the Limpopo region, becoming AWF’s Congo landscape ecologist.

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AWF Blogs bring you to the critical landscapes we work in, where conservation benefits both wildlife and people alike. The blogs are written by our staff - men and women who have dedicated their lives to Africa's wildlife, people and wild lands.