Rocky the Rooikat reveals himself.
This is our first photo of Rocky since he was collared last year. It was taken on 2/4/2009 at 1:51am using a digital infra-red camera. The camera was set up with the children from Dwarsrivier Primary School on one of their outings with the Cape Leopard Trust Education Programme in order to see what animals live in their immediate environment.
Willem has been tracking Rocky over the last few months, with much success. Caracals, it seems, are less shy than our leopards, and we have had several sightings of Rocky when tracking him. It is very clear from the data collected that he uses the open areas and not rocky slopes. This is exactly the opposite behaviour to our leopards, which are found predominantly on the slopes. It appeared that Rocky had a home range of about 60km², stretching from the Matjiesrivier to the Kromrivier’s Disa Pools, including Truitjieskraal and Stadsaal. To our complete surprise however, we recently picked up a signal for him near Driehoek. This potentially doubles his range to about 100km2. It remains to be seen whether this is a permanent expansion, and whether he will still utilize all his old territory.
Our thanks go to Paul and Kim Wolfe for their donation of a second caracal collar. At present we are looking for potential caracal trapping sites while the University of Stellenbosch are attaching a data-logger to the collar to store GPS locations.
M12 eludes us
Referring back to the November newsletter, we are yet to know the full extent of the new male, M12’s range and whether Johan (M1) is still alive or not. Since January we have been trapping to collar M12, who is now named ‘Titus’, after Willem Titus who has put so much effort into trying to catch the leopard. Prior to us setting the cage, we had three photos of Titus passing the cage site, spaced about two weeks apart. Considering our chances high, we set the cage with great expectations. It is now the end of April and we have had no sign of Titus back in that kloof, although we have seen his tracks going in the direction of the neighbouring kloof. Yes, frustrating!
What a boitjie! M12 in Johan’s old hunting ground
Trapping is also taking place at Bushmanskloof and Karukareb, where our new cages are being used and the traps monitored by staff of these guest lodges. We are most grateful for the dedicated assistance given us by both Bushmanskloof and Karukareb in this regard.