Good evening dear blog readers,
On June 27-29, Anita from the Boland Leopard Project and myself were in Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat to speak about leopards, caracals and conservation with the guests. The trip was successful and Anita’s talk on The Cape Leopard Trust’s research attracted many people.
We successfully tracked Easter, the female caracal we collared in April, with the guests who were very enthusiastic despite the cold and wet weather.
On one of the drives, Sijbrandt, our ranger, found drag marks along the road. We followed the marks on each side of which we could see deep leopard’s spoor impressions. The carcass must have been heavy according to the depth of the tracks and the use of the claws, deep in the sand. We found a dead bontebok, an antelope of around 60 kg, hidden in a rock crevice, under a big bush. With the rangers and Anita, we then backtracked nearly 400 meters to try to reconstitute the “crime scene”. It was an interesting exercise, showing how much tracking can teach you about wildlife.
A leopard track in the sand
Anita and the rangers are backtracking the drag mark
Bushmans Kloof also offered us some nice and unexpected wildlife viewing opportunities, like this cute elephant shrew on the morning sun. Birds were present, singing and feeding in spite of the rain.
An elephant shrew, heating at the morning sun after a cold night
The malachite sunbird is a big and very colorful sunbird that we can see in the Cederberg
Two bokmakieries singing
I told you that caracals are emblematic animals! As a piece of evidence, look at this bushman rock art: it shows a cat! For me, it’s definitely a caracal, look at its ears ;-)