Caught on camera traps in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
In July 2014, we lent our Tracking the Wild camera trap to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) Leopard Project to help collect footage from three camera traps over a 4-month period. Dr. Matthew Schurch, a professional Astronomer who transforms himself into a self-styled leopard researcher at the weekends, started the project in 2011.
The project is primarily composed of two principle aspects. The first is the production of an identification guide for the KTP leopards, the purpose of which is to enhance the visitor's experience of the park by providing them with the means to identify a leopard they see.
The second aspect is the science that this project will undertake. Much like a static camera trap survey, every visitor and their camera can be utilised as a mobile camera trap. Using these 'trap events' or sightings, the project can analyse the identifications, locations and times of the data to get a better understanding of the ecology of the Kgalagadi leopard. Since the conception of the project it has now been expanded to include a study of all the large carnivores and has been approved by SANParks Scientific Services. SANParks Biotechnician Graeme Ellis is coordinating the Large Carnivore study in the KTP.
In July 2011 this project began with 27 individual leopards known. Today they know of 85 individuals, of which 37 are regularly seen by visitors to the KTP on the South African side and 7 are seen in the Mabuasehube section in Botswana. This project is still in its early days, but with your help a difference can be made in understanding the life of the Kgalagadi leopard.
There were over 25,000 photos collected from three camera traps over four months. The Tracking the Wild camera trap was set up at the Ta Shebube Rooiputs Lodge over looking their waterhole. The lodge is situated just 20 kilometers from Twee Rivieren camp on the Botswana side of the park. Unfortunately there was a malfunction in the camera trap and it only worked for the first 10 days of the 4-month period. But during that time it took a staggering quantity of images (mostly of gemsbok!) though sadly none of any leopards. Here are some of the highlights.
Looking straight at the camera, the animals must know it's there!
Black-backed jackal visiting for a drink
Plenty of nocturnal visitors including this brown hyena
Nothing like a good roll in the dust!
All that rolling around is thirsty work!
Another night time visitor
Seems the photos weren't all gemsbok... A red hartebeest takes its turn to come for a drink
A curious wildebeest investigates...
This gemsbok comes in for a closer look...check out its eye!
Remember you can submit your camera trap photos to Tracking the Wild, just upload them in the same way as a regular sighting. We’ve seen some really interesting stuff so far including a spotted hyena in the middle of the Drakensberg!
You can buy Bushnell Camera Traps from the following stores:
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