Thursday was our vehicle game drive, and vehicle one came across a fresh place where a leopard had made a kill and we saw the drag marks across the road (good eyes Gary!)
This is a really good example of why the work the volunteers are doing here is so important…without all the extra “eyes” in various places all over the farm, Vera would never have seen the drag marks on her own. Her normal path of travel to base camp is on the other side of the bush, and she would never have seen the fresh kill if not for the volunteers. So a huge thank you to the teams for extending her reach into the study area.
It was really a pleasure to watch how team two communicated via radios and SMS, and through everyone’s efforts – and flexibility – we were able to move and set up two box traps at the kill site that afternoon. The next morning we were rewarded with a HUGE male leopard (69 kg) in the trap. Vera and the IZW team weighed, took DNA samples, and collared him. Recognise Shelagh from team 1?
And, this just in from Vera: she has confirmed through ID pictures that the male leopard caught on the camera trap that walked by the hole in the fence but did not come through is, in fact, the very leopard that we have just caught and collared. So, a huge thanks again to team 1 for identifying that hole in the fence and helping to monitor the camera traps there. Way to go teams 1 and 2!