Friday, 21 February 2014

New Leopard Project at Nkomazi Game Reserve

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Nkomazi Game Reserve, part of Shamwari Group, situated in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, a mere 3.5 hours from Johannesburg, has for the past 16 months been researching signs of the natural occurring leopard within the expanse of the reserve. The team soon came to the conclusion that there were no resident leopards left at Nkomazi, however irregular signs such as leopard tracks, tree scrapings and the odd confirmed sightings proved that that leopard are still occurring in the area.

Expert Guide, Paul Schofield, with the support of Dr Johan Joubert, Shamwari Group Wildlife Director, John O’Brien, Shamwari Group Ecologist, Willem Dreyer, Property Director and Nick Webb, Managing Director Dubai World, agreed to build a holding boma and find an eligible candidate to introduce on to Nkomazi Game Reserve. Within a short time frame, the boma was complete and a female leopard was on her way.

Storm is a young 3 year old leopardess and the perfect candidate for the reintroduction process as she is at the age when a leopard leaves her mother’s territory and looks for a territory of her own. On 18 December, Nkomazi personnel collected Storm at a holding facility in Hoedspruit and delivered her to Nkomazi. She is now well settled into her holding boma and has been slowly getting used to her surroundings. Guests will not be permitted to view her from up close for the next few months, but guests have been seeing glimpses of her from the vantage point on the other side of the river where her holding boma is situated.

Storm is being habituated to Nkomazi Game Reserve to ensure she establishes her new home range within the boundaries of the reserve. This is important to ensure her safety. The fact that Nkomazi is very well stocked with natural prey will facilitate this process. Paul believes that she will be ready to be released during March 2014. 

Published in Energy and Environment

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