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Monthly newsletter - April 2023
From 118,229ha covered in March to 164,229ha covered in April by the Ingwe Leopard Research.
Who are the new additions?
This month, another two lodges joined the research. Metsi Lodge is situated in Welgevonden Game Reserve and is the first one joining from this 36,000 ha reserve. The team is very enthusiastic to be part of the research and we are very much looking forward to receive the first data. Welgevonden is a neighbour to Marataba Game Reserve so it will be very exciting to see if leopards photographed by Metsi lodge will also be captured by the team at Marataba.
Pondoro Game lodge is the second lodge that joined the project this month and is situated in the Balule Game Reserve, one of the reserve bordering and open to the Kruger National Park. Pondoro is also a neighbour to other reserves already enrolled so we are also exciting to witness (or not) if leopards move from one reserve to another. However, a main road separates the different reserves and might act as a physical barrier to the leopards (and other wildlife). It is only with time and with continuous collection of data and photographs that we will be able to understand the impact such a road has on leopard movements.
Have a look at the maps below to see where all the reserves enrolled are situated and how they are all starting to form a collaborative network.
How many data were submitted?
This month, thanks to the participation of all the reserves, the On Track Foundation became the first contributor for leopard images in South Africa on the African Carnivore Wildbook! Together with the other five contributor, we submitted 5382 images. The images include sightings, camera traps and ID kits photographs.
The fives reserves that are contributing the most to the data are:
For the Pilanesberg National Park and the Kruger National Park, the high number of visitors traveling to the parks and using the Latest Sighting mobile app has a direct influence on the number of submissions. The residents from Raptors’ View Wildlife Estate have been monitoring leopards roaming in their backyard before the project began and therefore had historical data to share. Finally, Marataba’s camera traps are yielding great results and Jabulani’s regular leopard sightings are well documented.
Below are the data submitted since the beginning of the year:
This month, one of the main focus of the research was to look for extra funding. The On Track Foundation is able to fund one third of the research so other funding avenues are needed for the other two thirds.
I am very excited to announce that Arid Wine, from Stellenbosch South Africa, has offered to sponsor a part of the project. The owner, Michael Van Niekerk, has been looking for conservation projects to support and chose the Ingwe Leopard Research to do so. For each bottle sold, a percentage will be given to the On Track Foundation. Have a look at his wine offering on his website.
If you know of potential sponsors, please get in touch!
A crowdfunding campaign is also under preparation and will be launch in June/July - gifts will be offered for all contributions! Follow the projet on Facebook and Instagram to know about the launching date.
Finally, conferences will be held in May in the Hoedspruit area and in the Waterberg. The aim is two folds:
Meet with reserve/lodge managers as well as key stakeholders in order to ensure collaboration and agree on the best way to have a positive impact on the local leopard population
Inform the general public about the research being done in their areas and how they can contribute by becoming citizen scientists!
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