Robertson Corridor Leopard Project December 2012 Update

Friday, 11 January, 2013
Rooiberg Winery
The November field work trip was very busy and there is lots to report. This was the first camera check of the project’s 36 camera stations of Phase 2. During this trip, an additional 8 camera stations were installed and we’d like to thank Ismail Bhorat of Melozhori Game Reserve for his generous donation, which made these new stations possible.
These 8 new Phase 2 “Part II” camera stations cover the mountains above Ashton, more of the McGregor valley and the mountains further east of McGregor toward Stormsvlei. We want to welcome these new Landowners to the project!

Unfortunately, we must also report the theft of the two cameras from the Dassieshoek Nature Reserve station. While, Dassieshoek is a wonderful area for us to potentially find leopard, there are no immediate plans to return cameras to this location because of security concerns. Consequently, with the addition of the 8 stations and the loss of the Dassieshoek station, the project currently has a new total of 43 active stations across the region.

Now on to some exciting leopard news! As you all know, one of the things we were curious about was whether the leopards were crossing the Breede River. We all suspected that they were, but now we have photographic proof! The big male and female photograhped together at the Rooiberg Mountain stations in early September have both been found on separate occasions at camera stations on the southern side of the river. The male was found on a station about 6km from Rooiberg Mountain and the female about 10km away.

The Phase 2 stations have also bridged the gap between the Robertson Corridor Project and Landmark’s Greyton Mountains Project study areas! We were curious to see whether we would find the same leopards on the southern and northern slopes of the Riviersonderend mountain range, and we have! Results from the Greyton Project found 6 leopards between Genadendal and Riviersonderend and 2 of these leopards are now shared by both projects. One of these leopards was found about 10km east of Greyton and has now been seen as far east as the mountains surrounding Agterkliphoogte and as far west as the mountains above McGregor (about 25km from station to station as the crow flies). The second shared leopard was found in the mountains above Greyton and Genadendal and was seen in the mountains and veld that surround Agterkliphoogte. These are very exciting findings and we look forward to learning more about the movements of these leopards.

In total, 19 of the 35 remaining Phase 2 stations found leopard during this trip. After analyzing all the leopard photos, we believe we have identified 12 new leopards in addition to the 9 from the Phase 1 cameras bringing our total up to 21 individuals!

Click HERE to download complete report.