Due to our beneficiant companions, the fStop Basis, we had been donated 20 Browning Spec Ops Path Cameras to seize and assist determine the leopards. These digital camera traps had 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 had been deployed in high-use areas, akin to alongside roads and close to animal paths, the place the leopard inhabitants tends to cross by. Measures to make sure clear pictures from the digital camera traps included the usage of paired cameras to acquire pictures of each side of the person (which helps with the identification) and the removing of vegetation in entrance of the cameras.

The leopards captured within the pictures had 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 pictures of beforehand recognized people. The leopards had 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 document of the leopard inhabitants and motion on and across the reserve!

5 particular person leopards had 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 had 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 gap moved by the leopards between the seize websites assorted between 761.1m and 1795.2m, with a imply of 1206.8m. 

The survey was capable of affirm particular person leopards shifting between GUNR and our neighbouring reserve, Phinda Non-public Recreation Reserve. This isn’t sudden because of the necessity of those massive cats having 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 in regards to the leopard inhabitants at GUNR, the digital camera traps are additionally capable of doc different species on the reserve and permit us to document cryptic and nocturnal species that aren’t recurrently encountered! 

We sit up for sharing the outcomes from the following yr’s leopard survey with you – keep tuned!

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