Due to our beneficiant companions, the fStop Basis, we have been donated 20 Browning Spec Ops Path Cameras to seize and assist determine the leopards. These digicam traps have been arrange for six weeks at a time, with 10 lure websites on the Ukuwela part and 10 lure websites on the Mfuleni part of our GUNR. The cameras have been deployed in high-use areas, similar to alongside roads and close to animal paths, the place the leopard inhabitants tends to cross by. Measures to make sure clear photographs from the digicam traps included using paired cameras to acquire photographs of either side of the person (which helps with the identification) and the elimination of vegetation in entrance of the cameras.

The leopards captured within the photographs have been then recognized utilizing African Carnivore Wildbook, a know-how that makes use of machine studying algorithms and synthetic intelligence to detect people and determine them in opposition to a database of photographs of beforehand recognized people. The leopards have been then manually recognized and, the place doable, the gender of the person was additionally decided. The findings from the survey are an thrilling first report of the leopard inhabitants and motion on and across the reserve!

5 particular person leopards have been recognized from 199 leopard captures, 173 on the Ukuwela part and 26 on the Mfuleni part of the GUNR. 

Of the 5 recognized on the Ukuwela part of the reserve; one grownup male and two grownup females have been recognized, together with two juveniles (gender undetermined).

On the Mfuleni part, though just one particular person was captured on the cameras (and was recognized as the identical grownup male on Ukuwela), extra people have been reported. As Greg explains within the report, it isn’t uncommon for there to be an absence of those cats for a interval as they’re wide-ranging and territorial. The report discovered the space moved by the leopards between the seize websites various between 761.1m and 1795.2m, with a imply of 1206.8m. 

The survey was in a position to affirm particular person leopards transferring between GUNR and our neighbouring reserve, Phinda Non-public Sport Reserve. This isn’t surprising as a result of necessity of those huge cats with the ability to transfer freely between widespread areas. This additionally underlines how essential collaboration between adjoining protected areas is for the conservation of those unimaginable cats!

Along with studying extra concerning the leopard inhabitants at GUNR, the digicam traps are additionally in a position to doc different species on the reserve and permit us to report cryptic and nocturnal species that aren’t recurrently encountered! 

We stay up for sharing the outcomes from the subsequent 12 months’s leopard survey with you – keep tuned!


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