Camera trap images provide an unobtrusive glimpse into the secret lives of animals. This can sometimes lead to the discovery of unbelievable animal interactions, where only visual proof would convince us that such an encounter occurred.
These incredible pictures, taken one misty morning, show not one but two leopards, AND a critically endangered black rhino only metres apart. This rare sight of two such iconic species peacefully posing together is a perfect way to celebrate the collaboration between RCB and WildCRU’s Trans-Kalahari Predator Programme (TKPP) from the University of Oxford.
The TKPP is conducting a three-year Okavango Delta Carnivore Survey, aimed at providing reliable estimates for large carnivore numbers in the Okavango Delta. RCB provided invaluable logistical and ground support for an unprecedented camera trap survey in the region to assist with this goal and help us to monitor the health of the black and white rhino populations in this dynamic wetland.
TKPP and RCB combined forces on the ground as part of a 10-week survey involving more than 180 cameras covering 1,600 km2 of the Okavango Delta. The cameras recorded over 200,000 images of the wetland’s incredible biodiversity.
The pictures included both black and white rhino, which can be individually identified by their ear notches. This not only allows us to estimate the number of rhinos in the area, but also enables us to assess the health, age and breeding status of the rhinos in the pictures, assisting our monitoring efforts.
This partnership proves that two organisations with common conservation goals can work together to share information, help each other and contribute to shared successes. We look forward to continuing this collaboration in the future, as we all work towards the conservation of the incredible Okavango Delta ecosystem – for both carnivores and rhinos alike.