When coming back from game drive in the evening, you might come across some bright camera flashes. These are from camera traps that form part of a Leopard survey that is currently being conducted on the reserve.
As leopards are very widespread and their status is not secure, as many of us think, due to a large number being killed every year. Thus, for conservation purposes, it is important to know where leopards are, how many there are and how their populations change over time.
Approximately 50 camera-trap stations are set up in the reserve; each station has 2 cameras in order to get both flanks of the leopard when it walks past. As leopards are distinguished by their spot patterns, and these are unique to each individual leopard. We’ve had great success in the past with this project and look forward to this year, as it also helps to ascertain how many leopards we have on the property. The photo survey started end of June and continue for 50 days on.
Of course it isn’t just the leopards that get picked up by the cameras; we might also get glimpses of other rare nocturnal animals like hyena, honey badger, aardvark…
This project is run by Panthera in partnership with the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. In addition to Welgevonden, surveys are also being conducted in Makalali, Venetia-Limpopo, Timbavati Game Reserves, Atherstone and Wonderkop Nature Reserves.
You can have a look at the work Panthera do by using the following link www.panthera.org