It has been a while since I arrived at our Okambara study site in Namibia, so it’s time to give you an update on my work here. I have already seen lots of wildlife and let me tell you, it is hard to miss! There hasn’t been one day without seeing an animal but although I was very excited to see rhinos and giraffes for the first time on the farm.
I was still hoping for a leopard, as this is the species I will focus my main research on.
Finally, after a few weeks of waiting (not so) patiently, Fortuna had a female leopard go into a trap, which had actually been set up for capturing cheetahs on another farm! We (that is the people within our research group here in Namibia) took the opportunity to collar her, which will now give us the chance to monitor her movements in the following months. The picture was taken to help us identify her unique fur pattern in case she walks in front of a camera trap or gets captured elsewhere.
I also learned that the male leopard collared during the 2012 expedition is hanging around in the northern part of Okambara (see his GPS-positions).
In addition, tracks of a big leopard have also been found in the south as well. Not far from the farm house, we found a hole in the outer farm fence, which could serve as a gateway for all kinds of animals, including a leopard. I have set up a camera trap to find out who/what is using this (no longer) secret entrance to Okambara. My camera trap captured porcupines and warthogs but then…a leopard showed up also. As you can see on the picture, it is quite a big individual and if you look even more closely, you will notice that a part of the upper lip is missing, which may have been caused by territorial fights with other leopards. Box traps have now been set up in various places in order to capture and collar this leopard to find out more about its usage of the area.
Watch this space for further updates.