If we know how animals are moving across the landscape, we can protect those secret corridors they make use of. And it allows us to improve highly degraded corridor links, in order to reconnect ecosystems.
That’s why our conservation team started developing our Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area corridor strategy. This work is supported by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust.
And to date, the work has delivered some exciting results – including a sighting of a Cape Leopard in the NWSMA.
Erica and Eugéne, our Conservation Managers, undertook a desktop survey to highlight potential corridors linking natural areas. To see whether their estimates were spot on, they put camera traps in strategic positions in the corridors, to gauge animal movement between fragments of natural vegetation.
And they certainly chose the right spots. Here are some of the images captured on camera by our corridor camera traps.
This is only the second time we’ve pictured a Cape Leopard on the NWSMA. This beauty is likely preying on baboons, small antelope, Eland calves, Bush pigs (likely a more challenging prey) and small mammals like Scrub hares – also pictured in our conservation corridors.
This work allows the NWSMA to devise a corridor rehabilitation plan, to strategically locate highly degraded links which require conservation mitigation. The corridors are also included as priority areas in the projects we roll out.
Our cooperation with the Cape Leopard Trust
The Cape Leopard Trust is looking at safe areas for Cape Leopards to move through across the Agulhas Plain (including the NWSMA), making use of corridors. They’re also looking at movements of vegetation and amphibians (such as the Endangered Cape Platanna (Xenopus gilli) – found on the NWSMA last year for the first time).
A recent article on the BBC online highlights the NWSMA’s conservation work (including the corridor strategy), and the cooperation with the Cape Leopard Trust.
The article concludes: “(T)he steady growth of wildlife corridors can help stitch disjointed ecosystems back together before it’s too late for animals like leopards. After all, encroaching on nature has unintended consequences for animals and human civilisation alike.”
To read the full BBC article, click here.