Right after the call, I contacted Bateleurs pilot and project sponsor, Jock Kannemeyer to see if he was free to head up to the Cederberg. In no time at all we had arranged to fly up in his helicopter to save precious time. An amazing hour flight had us safely on my doorstep at Matjiesriver Nature Reserve in the Cederberg with Willem, Colin Veloen (Cape Nature) & Rika du Plessis (Cape Nature) ready and waiting. We set out by vehicle & then by foot down this massive kloof to where the cage was - very far away. In fact, we had this cage airlifted by helicopter last week to where we wanted it.
There was no ways we could carry it there & we had identified just the right place to catch our lady. The cage was set on Monday - one of 4 traps that were set at the time. We check all the traps TWICE A DAY. Willem & I knew we would eventually get the female we wanted to catch there - F6 - the mother of 2 litters of cubs I know about. She has a cub of 1yr now. This was just much sooner than we anticipated. F6 was adopted by the Panthereus Foundation in Holland.
Rika - who has always been my very best assistant with leopards - was once again brilliant. Willem was exhausted from all his hiking & I was shaking like mad from all the excitement. Jock did all the filming - which turned out to be spectacular. Dr Andre van der Merwe (our vet) must be thanked again for all his incredible help.
The darting procedure went very smoothly & soon we were measuring and collaring a beautiful 18kg adult female leopard - so tiny for an adult leopard. What a gorgoeus cat. A male caracal in the Cape often weighs more than this. The collar fitted perfectly & only weighs just over 300g.
The tables have turned, the ice broken & it is now time to see what these girls are up to. Where they shop for their food, how they utilise their ranges etc. One of the most exciting things is going to be using the GPS collar information to find den sites & to monitor the cubs.
The CLT is going through some very exciting times. We would like to thank all of our amazing supporters for everything they have done for us. I can assure you that things will just get BETTER! You can tell, as I even had a haircut.
Don't forget the fund raising event on the 22nd March. Tickets are available at Computicket - Book now or there will not be place. It is going to be fantastic! Please contact Ilana for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
kind regards from an over excited