The Team at the Rhino Guardian Project are currently testing their new Reconyx Inferred trail-cams out on the reserve and this picture is what they’ve all been waiting for!!!!
They were very excited to capture this amazing male leopard on their very first attempt!!! This is the beginning of a leopard research program being set up specially for private reserves.
The aim is to assess the local leopard population and also assist in making identification kits of the resident leopards.
Once they have documented the local leopard population, a select few will be fitted with satellite collars so they can start tracking them for research.
This data will be collected and shared in collaboration with the Leopard Conservation Project NPO who will supply the materials and methods needed for collecting this data.
The Difference That Can Be Made From Wildlife Monitoring
We cannot reveal all the information for obvious reasons, but here is a summary of an incident which occurred in February 2016.
Please note that the following account was experienced by a team member of the Rhino Guardian Project. Volunteers aren't involved in anti-poaching practices which put them in dangerous situations.
On the 6th of February one of the Rhino Guardian team members (Jason) was out on the dawn patrol-drive. While out in the field Jason positioned himself on one of the many observation points where he then spotted something suspicious: two unidentified men, dressed in dark coloured clothing, moving through the reserve.
The area where the men were spotted is considered a high-risk-zone for poachers, so he had to act. He swiftly moved to a safe position and reported the incident to the reserve. Confirmation was made that the individuals were in fact trespassing.
Together with a local response team the Rhino Guardian team launched into action to pursue these trespassers. They immediately realised that these were no ordinary individuals or meat-poachers… These men knew how to move through the landscape and evade… Expertly!
The team was right on their heels for the entire day, but unfortunately (due to abnormal circumstances) their air support arrived just minutes too late and they managed to escape.
Even though the trespassers escaped, they did manage to collect valuable information from the incident and we aren’t giving up just quite yet. They confirmed that this was in fact a failed attempt to poach rhino on the reserve.
After all the hard work, it was frustrating to not be able to catch the poachers (well… not yet!!), but the team chose to stay positive and appreciate the fact that once again they did manage to stop a poaching event. This incident proves the value of the Rhino Guardian project and poaching deterrents, it proves that every little bit of effort and support can make a massive difference in combatting poaching and saving Africa’s wildlife.
The team would like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who assisted in this pursuit (they know who they are!). It was truly inspirational to see everyone’s passion and commitment. Furthermore, they would also like to thank all the volunteers and other individuals supporting their cause, without you we would not be able to do the work we do, we would not be able to make the difference we do!
Stay Safe to all the rangers out there and Love Your Wild Life.