Cape Leopard Trust

May 27, 2009

Mission: Tracking female leopard with faulty collar
Date: 27 May 2009

Requesting organisation: 
Cape Leopard Trust
Eastern Cederberg
Pilot: Brendhan Kannemeyer

Quinton Martins of the Cape Leopard Trust asked us to fly our second mission for the CLT this year.  After several cancellations due to bad weather, Bateleurs pilot Brendhan Kannemeyer eventually flew for Quinton at the end of May. This is Quinton’s report:

“We had been desperately hoping to download GPS collar data from Lizzy, the female leopard who lives in the most inaccessible region of the eastern Cederberg (see photo above).  Despite our checking for the signal on a daily basis there had been no sign of her. Furthermore, her collar was not functioning properly, so that when we were able to communicate with it, we struggled to get a GPS download. 

We were wondering if Lizzy was still alive when, to our great relief, we obtained a remote camera trap photo of her on the 20th of May. With no other way to get a download from her GPS collar, we needed to fly so that I could activate a release mechanism on her collar, by remote, so that it would drop off and we could retrieve the data that way. 

The Bateleurs arranged a tracking flight for us and on 27th May Jock Kannemeyer collected us from Mount Ceder, bristling with cables and antennas everywhere. The weather conditions were perfect and the view was breathtaking. However, despite flying over Lizzy’s range twice (an area of about 20,000ha), we were unable to locate her.  We had to give up in frustration and hope that we’d be luckier on another day.  A cage trap has since been set to capture and re-collar her with an improved collar.”

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