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First week -- removing camera traps, sighting a leopard

I would like to say hi to all of you who have been following and supporting Nakedi’s work. My name is Nnzumbeni Tshikalange -- Nakedi introduced me in the previous blog. I am going to share with you my first experience in the bush.

[caption id="attachment_1349" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I spotted this beautiful leopard during my first week on the project."]I spotted this beautiful leopard during my first week on the project.[/caption]

On my first day I had to remove all the cameras Nakedi had installed so that they could be moved to new positions.  I went out early in the morning with one of the trackers. We drove around so I could see the roads and know my way around. The road network in the concession can be confusing for a new person in the area. I managed to get three of the cameras and then took the tracker back to the lodge. I later had to go back on my own, but with the maze of road network that I was in, it was difficult to find the cameras. Luckily Nakedi programmed the position of all the cameras in the GPS. That made it possible to look for and find the cameras. It all got interesting when I realized that some of the cameras were placed up to two kilometers in the bush. How was I to get those cameras? I was given the rules that I don’t have to off road because it damages vegetation. I had to park the car and walk to the cameras. I was nervous during the walk, even though I was with a tracker with a rifle. Honestly walking in the bush for the first time was scary. I was asking myself a lot of questions, like what is going to happen next? What if we come across a lion? How about a buffalo or most of all an elephant?

The ranger urged me to relax and concentrate on my job. The walking got better with the day because I had to remove lots of cameras. When we moved to the next camera I felt more confident than the first one. On one of the cameras I came across a crèche of rhinos standing exactly where the camera was, we had to wait for them to move. In short my first exercise was very exciting.

Thanks to all the trackers who have been of great help and some rangers from the concession and the Kruger National Park rangers. Most of all working in the bush is a great adventure and good experience as I learn a lot, including different animal behaviour. Sorry for the long the long delay -- I know you’ve always enjoyed reading Nakedi’s blog and I will always do my best to keep you updated.

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.