On Tuesday February 12th we began a three week trapping period to target leopards, brown hyaenas, baboons, samango monkeys and a vervet monkey for collaring or ear tagging. After weeks of preparation we opened the leopard traps on the 12th. We set up a line of 8 traps and felt pretty happy with ourselves and excited about the upcoming weeks. To get back to camp we had to drive by 4 of our newly set traps. As we were driving along we didn’t expect what was coming next….
As we drove past a trap site someone called out ‘LEOPARD!’ and there in one of the traps that had been open a mere 30 minutes sat a caught leopard. The team drove back to camp and prepared to process the animals. The vet darted him and when he was down we were able to safely identify him. It was Anakin (formerly known as Anni because he was originally identified as a girl!). He has been seen on our camera traps walking the area regularly for several years and due to his stability in the area we decided to collar him.
Checking Anakin’s collar is secure.
Checking teeth for wear and tear which aids in aging the animal.
Just before the release from the recovery crate
The whole process went extremely well and Anakin was released with no problems the next morning. Since the capture we have been monitoring his movements from the GPS collar fixes.
The trapping with continue until early March and we are hoping to catch another resident adult leopard for collaring. The data we receive from the collars in proving invaluable in learning about ranging behaviour, movement in human-wildlife conflict zones and for planning conservation strategies.