What the Camera Trap Caught #2

“There can be no better feeling then actually watching a leopard trigger a camera trap that you personally put in position”

After the wonderful success, in capturing two leopards, in one of our camera traps last week I decided to put it back in the same place. After ensuring the batteries were charged and the memory card was empty I scaled up the mountain to the rocky shelf. A nearby tree is the perfect height, allowing me to secure the camera without intruding any potential animal movements. As soon as an animal moves onto the shelf the camera would be triggered. The camera was set to take a still photograph and then revert to 20 seconds of film/video. My reason for choosing this was that I wanted to get an identification shot and then try capture some behaviour. Looking back I now realise that in this position I must either set it purely for stills, or alternatively I must allow the camera to record for a greater period of time. I believe that this will allow us more of a view into the behaviour and dynamics of the leopards utilising the area.

Needless to say we captured some phenomenal pictures in the last 10 days or so.

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Possibly one of the most rewarding moments in my Big Cat ‘documentation’ career. Whilst scanning the granite hill I moved my binoculars over all the crevices, holes and caves. I decided to glance over at one of my nearby camera traps, purely to insure that it was still in one piece. I could not believe the sight that greeted my eyes. Not only was the camera trap where I had left it, but sitting beside the camera were TWO leopards. I yelled out in glee as I pointed out the leopards to my excited guests. You can only imagine my reaction! The leopards were sitting no more then 4 meters from my camera in direct view of the shutter.
Possibly one of the most rewarding moments in my Big Cat 'documentation' career. Whilst scanning the granite hill I moved my binoculars over all the crevices, holes and caves. I decided to glance over at one of my nearby camera traps, purely to insure that it was still in one piece. I could not believe the sight that greeted my eyes. Not only was the camera trap where I had left it, but sitting beside the camera were TWO leopards. I yelled out in glee as I pointed out the leopards to my excited guests. You can only imagine my reaction! The leopards were sitting no more then 2 meters from my camera in direct view of the shutter.
So whilst we were sitting in the car below to the left some 40 meters away, this was what the camera trap was shooting!
The male sub-adult cub, whom we believe to be in the region of 9 months, is starting to bother his mother. In this remarkable picture you can see her snarl to warn off her son.
One of the two sub-adult male cubs, whom we believe to be in the region of 9 months, is starting to bother his mother. In this remarkable picture you can see her snarl to warn him off.
The following day we decided to head back to the same spot, some 20 minutes from camp. We managed to find a very large male leopard on the hill. For over half an hour we followed this male as he marched over the granite kopje. He was limping and showing clear signs of a showdown - presumably with another male seen in the area the previous day. My hear skipped a beat as he moved in the direction of what I have now called 'Camera Trap Rock' - low and behold the big male sat himself perfectly on the rocky shelf in full view of us sitting below, and of my camera trap. I have painted in arrows to highlight both the camera and the camouflaged leopard.
The following day we decided to head back to the same spot, some 20 minutes from camp. We managed to find a very large male leopard on the hill. For over half an hour we followed this male as he marched over the granite kopje. He was limping and showing clear signs of a showdown – presumably with another male seen in the area the previous day. My heart skipped a beat as he moved in the direction of what I have now called ‘Camera Trap Rock’ – low and behold the big male sat himself perfectly on the rocky shelf in full view of us sitting below, and of my camera trap. I have painted in arrows to highlight both the camera and the camouflaged leopard.
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Here you can see the male getting up after lying in front of the camera.
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A few hours later, in the middle of the day, he was back at the exact same spot. Not so nocturnal are they?
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But he only stayed here for a minute or so before moving off. This is the same male we managed to capture in this position during the first instalment of ‘What the Camera Trap Caught’.
The same female as can be seen in the pictures above was again caught in the act, this time with BOTH of her sub-adult male cubs.
The same female as can be seen in the pictures above was again caught in the act, this time with BOTH of her sub-adult male cubs.
Unfortunately the nearby camera trap did not prove as fruitful. Sadly something appears to have knocked it. This impacted on it's view and so restricted its use. Nevertheless, it managed to capture this Large Grey Babbler...
Unfortunately the nearby camera trap did not prove as fruitful. Sadly something appears to have knocked it. This impacted on it’s view and so restricted its use. Nevertheless, it managed to capture this Large Grey Babbler…
and a Three-striped Palm Squirrel
and a Three-striped Palm Squirrel

Written by Adam Bannister

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