Because of our beneficiant companions, the fStop Basis, we had been donated 20 Browning Spec Ops Path Cameras to seize and assist establish the leopards. These digicam 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, similar 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 digicam traps included using paired cameras to acquire pictures of each side of the person (which helps with the identification) and the elimination of vegetation in entrance of the cameras.

The leopards captured within the pictures had been then recognized utilizing African Carnivore Wildbook, a expertise that makes use of machine studying algorithms and synthetic intelligence to detect people and establish 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 file 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 various between 761.1m and 1795.2m, with a imply of 1206.8m. 

The survey was capable of verify particular person leopards shifting between GUNR and our neighbouring reserve, Phinda Personal Recreation Reserve. This isn’t surprising as a result of necessity of those large 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 unbelievable cats!

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

We look ahead to sharing the outcomes from the following yr’s leopard survey with you – keep tuned!

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