South Africa – Rare leopard roadkill ….. and our expanding volunteer network. How can you help?

leopard

An extremely rare ‘red’ leopard was recently killed on the Sekhukune Road between the R577 and the R555 last month. The fully grown female has a rare genetic mutation called ‘erythrism’ which refers to the unusual reddish pigmentation of its fur and skin. Gerrie Camacho, of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency said that the appearance of this leopard is even rarer than the black leopard (which was also found in the area), and has not been sighted before. After the roadkilled leopard was examined, she was found to have been recently suckling, which means that her litter most likely would not have survived.

crocodile

A Nile crocodile roadkill was also recently found on N11 between Groblersdal and Marble Hall by Dr. Hannes Botha of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. Hannes said that it was early morning when he found the ‘fresh kill’ and judging by the position of the carcass on the road, it looks to have been a deliberate hit. The Nile Crocodile is the second largest reptile in the world, after the Saltwater Crocodile.

Since January, we have been receiving numerous reports from volunteers across the country with unusual roadkill sightings. Our volunteer network is gradually increasing and we are extremely grateful for your information. Vivian Jonker still continues to collect valuable data on the N14, whilst Isabelle Tillett near Dinokeng Nature Reserve has also joined our ranks.

A big thank you to all those who have emailed reports and data – please continue to do so, to:

Contact details:
Endangered Wildlife Trust – Wildlife Transport Programme
Telephone: +27 11 372 3600
Fax: +27 11 608 4682
Email: roads@ewt.org.za
Website: http://www.ewt.org.za

How can you help?

• Data collection through our Cellular Smartphone Application will shortly be available on the iPhone store.
• Report all roadkill to the EWT, especially rare or charismatic species
• Drive within the speed limits to increase your own and the wildlife’s reaction times
• Slow down and hoot at wildlife that has been momentarily blinded to coax it into fleeing
• Avoid littering, since food thrown out of car windows creates a roadside feast for scavenging wildlife
• Be alert and slow down when you see an animal crossing in front of you, there may be more animals in the vicinity
• Be alert at dawn and dusk and early evening, these are the times you are most likely to encounter wildlife on the roads
• Take special care near animal crossing warning signs or signs warning of the absence of fences. The signs are there for a reason
• If a collision seems inevitable, don’t swerve to avoid the animal; your risk of injury may be greater if you do. Maintain control of the vehicle. Report the accident to the police and your insurance company
• Farmers and land owners can help adequately protect road users by looking after fences and gates and conducting regular fence patrols especially during lambing season
• Report injured wildlife to the EWT-WTP on 011 372 3600, or call the nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre or veterinarian.

Please contact us if:

If you notice a lot of wildlife being killed on a particular stretch of road
If you are interested in collecting data on regularly travelled routes

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About wendy collinson

Originally hailing from the UK, Wendy gained her Bachelor of Education in 1990, and spent 15 years teaching Physical Education in London to high school students. She moved to South Africa in 2005, beginning work as a research assistant with large carnivores, working on research projects initiated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Wendy’s education background has stood her in good stead as a tour guide, since she believes in an interactive approach, engaging guests in specialist carnivore research tours. In addition to her research and tours, Wendy is also the main organiser of the aptly named “BIKE4BEASTS” mountain bike race, organised annually to raise funds for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (www.bike4beast.coza) Wendy is a field worker with the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife and Transport Programme. She recently completed her Master’s degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown South Africa, which examined the impacts of roads on South African wildlife.
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