Objective of the flight:
The tracking and downloading of GPS data collared leopards in the eastern part of Swartberg between De Rust and Willowmore in the Eastern Cape. This information will contribute to our understanding of leopard population densities and identify suitable habitat corridors which could be linking potentially isolated populations.Report from the beneficiary:
“On Thursday, December 12th 2013, Landmark Foundation embarked on a search flight with Barry Lipschitz from The Bateleurs to find a collared male leopard. This particular leopard was GPS collared in 2012 and we have been tracking him monthly since. The last time we had collected any data from this leopard was during the month of August, even after attempts to track the leopard almost daily throughout October. Unfortunately during November no-one was able to follow up and track this leopard.
The flight left from George airport around midday in a 4 seater Jabiru plane and headed straight for the Swartberg Mountains via the Outeniqua Pass. We began tracking the southern slopes of the Swartberg Mountains heading in a north-north east direction towards Willowmore in a grid formation. When we reached the peak of the male leopard’s range we turned to the southern slopes and back up the entire leopard’s territory. During the 3 hours that we were searching we did not receive any signal whatsoever and felt that it was best to head back to George.
It was agreed that perhaps the time of day was not the best for tracking as the leopard would be least mobile, so it was decided to adjourn the flight for a very early morning flight. It is imperative that we obtain a signal soon as the data is inconclusive without knowing what the leopard’s movements are. We hope to fly again soon with The Bateleurs and be successful, especially during an earlier flight.”
Landmark Foundation would like to extend its gratitude to The Bateleurs for organising the flight and the continuous support of the project. It is through this partnership with environmental links that change is made. Without such huge support we would not be able to track and compile the documentation required for the Leopard Conservation as well as the research aspect of this project. In particular we would like to thank Barry for his willingness and commitment to Landmark and conservation.”