The Boland trapping team’s hard work and lack of sleep was recently rewarded with the successful capturing and collaring of two more Boland leopards!
The owners and staff of Klipbokkop Mountain Reserve have overwhelmed the CLT team with their hospitality and logistical support during the first phase of the trapping activities. Apart from sponsoring accommodation, they also saw to it that everyone was well fed and that there were helping hands on deck to help monitor trap signals throughout the night. Klipbokkop has been closely involved with the Boland Project since it started in March 2010, and the owners also have a very personal interest in the trapping activities since they’ve been sharing their breathtaking mountain property with a dominant male leopard for over 12 years now. BM7, named BJK1 after being adopted by BJK Industries (a major sponsor of the CLT) at a CLT fundraiser in November 2010, was first photographed on Klipbokkop in 2000. He still holds his territory and is frequently recorded by camera traps on the property. This is the longest photographic record of a leopard in the Western Cape and this cat is estimated to be at least 14 years old! BM7 is therefore often also affectionately referred to as “Oupa”.
Quinton, Jeff, Jeannie and Anita taking all the necessary measurements on BM7.
BM7’s successful capture and collaring has allowed us to already identify and locate the site of his first kill – a red rock rabbit that he caught only a day after being collared. The GPS collar data have also shown that his territory includes habitat we did not expect him to utilise very often, and it is clear that this cat still has a few surprises up his sleeve!
All that is left of the red rock rabbit hunted by BM7
The early morning hours of 27 September saw the usual peace and quiet of Stettyn Estate broken by the excitement of another leopard capture. Jeannie got the fast beep of a triggered trap at the 1am trap check, and a visual inspection of the trap confirmed that BM5 had been caught! BM5 was adopted by another of the CLT’s main sponsors, Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards, in 2010. He is a healthy adult male with a big territory spanning the Stettyn Mountains, Stettynskloof and Kaaimansgat areas. The capture went very well, and as first light broke, BM5 walked off with his valuable collar. The first data from his GPS collar was downloaded recently, and it shows that he wasted no time getting back to the business of patrolling his vast territory.
Measuring BM5’s canines
We are extremely grateful to BJK Industries and Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards for their continued support of our research. A warm thank you to Gerhard and Elmarie Groenewald of Klipbokkop Mountain Reserve, and Johannes and Janine Botha of Stettyn Estate, for accommodating the Boland trapping team, and for their boundless cordiality, hospitality and assistance. A very special thank you also to Dr Marc Walton from Ceres Vets, Dr Andrew Gray from Drakenstein Veterinary Clinic and Quinton for coming out in the middle of the night to look after the health and safety of the captured leopards. Once again, thanks must also go to Jeff Sikich for sharing his valuable experience and helping to catch these cats in the safest possible way.
We look forward to sharing some of the exciting data from the Boland collared cats!
Jeannie & Anita