Leopard tracking as a wildlife volunteer abroad

In the private game reserve of Selati, near Phalaborwa in South Africa, you won’t find any tourists, only wildlife volunteers, helping to conduct vital research on African wildlife. The volunteers at Selati Lion & Rhino Tracking project, had a particularly successful week during their Big Cats game drives, and here is just one extract from their daily log:-

A special Monday afternoon drive

leopard tracking and wildlife volunteering in Africa
Game tracking for the elusive leopard Cleo

Monday brought a new challenge on the afternoon drive. Signal was first picked up for leopard Cleo, from Paw Paw, and she was North of the river. Due to all the summer rains Sand Crossing is currently unusable, so a speedy detour to Concrete Crossing was made. After a few frustrating attempts to pick up the signal again, the beeps came back loud and clear and soon everyone was staring into the bushes where Cleo was on a signal strength of 5

After a few minutes and no change in the signal, Liz decided to take the volunteers for phuza (a drink) and give Cleo a little privacy, hoping that as the evening fell she would make a move. Refreshed by tea and biscuits they headed back to where the signal had been strongest and checked it again…Cleo on a 7! 

leopard tracking and wildlife volunteering in Africa
Heightened excitement as the tracking signal gets stronger and stronger for Cleo!

“I have eye shine!”

Leah, one of our volunteers, swept the spotlight across the area and then uttered the magic words, ‘I have eye shine’. Everyone held their breath and waited and waited, and finally were rewarded. The most elusive collared animal on Selati walked casually out into the open about 15 metres from the car. She was very alert but relaxed, and we were able to observe her for about 10 minutes, which is pretty amazing for any leopard sighting, but especially for Cleo! 

As she turned and began to make her way back into the bushes, she stopped and gave a very soft contact call. Although we couldn’t see anything, this is a very strong indication that she currently has a cub with her

All the volunteers were on a high for the whole drive home – truly a once in a lifetime experience! So happy!!!!!!!!!!”

Limited Offer

Amanzi Travel are currently offering a £100 discount on the project fee, on all new bookings made before 31st March 2014, at the Selati Lion & Rhino Tracking volunteer project.

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A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over eight years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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