Vumbura Plains

Surveying Africa’s Large Carnivores – Part 3



Kai Collins


Wilderness Safaris has teamed up with WildCRU’s Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme, based out of the University of Oxford, to assist in their three-year Okavango Carnivore Survey. While the main aim of the project is to survey carnivores, the use of motion-triggered camera traps provided an ideal opportunity to also survey black and white rhino in the Okavango Delta, as part of our ongoing Rhino Monitoring Programme. Particularly for black rhino, camera traps are an ideal way to capture pictures of animals that are by nature nocturnal and shy.

Aside from the secretive black rhino, the camera traps have also given us insight into the more elusive nocturnal species which call the Okavango home. Many of the smaller species captured on camera are rarely seen on game drives, particularly those whose peak activity times are between midnight and 5 am! Little is known about many of these rarer species, and surveys like this provide a good opportunity to learn more about the distribution and habits of species like aardwolf, aardvark and the rusty-spotted genet, which are not as well studied as some of the larger and more charismatic carnivores like lion and leopard. Just have a look at some of the animals the night pictures have captured.

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