We have finally begun to have some success in capturing the elusive and wily Cederberg female leopards. On Monday the 14th July, we managed to capture and collar our fourth adult female leopard – F5. We have named her Lizzy. Amazing as it seems, this is the second female to be collared in less than 1 month. On the 18th of June we managed to collar Spot (F10), adopted by Motamedia in the UK.
Lizzy, adopted by one our main sponsors, the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust, has eluded our traps for over a year now! She was first photographed on Bakkrans Nature Reserve in 2004, then had a cub, Ololo, whom we captured on film in January 2005. In March 2006, we again got photographs of her with two 3 month old cubs. Then she disappeared off the radar – for over a year. We got occasional tracks, suspecting it was her, but no confirmation.
On the morning of the 14th, Willem (CLT field assistant) had gone out
to check the traps. The utter euphoria experienced when finding a
leopard in the cage, after months and months of finding nothing, is
almost impossible to describe.
The darting and collaring procedure went
exceptionally well, and the 22.5kg lady was released with a
super-lightweight GPS collar designed to operate for over 1 year. A
special thanks must go to Dr Andre van der Merwe, the vet who assists
with our leopard captures as well as Rika du Plessis from Cape Nature
for her invaluable help. This has been our 26th leopard capture in the