A new litter of lions has been born on the reserve! We are not sure yet which of a pair of sisters has had the cubs, as they were both mated a few months ago. One sister, Tsotsi, was mated by a known male on the reserve, and the other, Picannin, by a strange male that was passing through. We are keeping our fingers crossed for it being the new male, so that we have some new blood on the reserve.
The lion population is important for the project as we are using it as a benchmark for testing the various census techniques. The lion population is well studied and we know exactly how many there are, so we can test the accuracy of each technique against a known figure. The populations of the other species are currently unknown, and we are just starting to get our first estimates now.
Interestingly, both the spoor counts, and the home range sizes of our 3 radio-collared Black-Backed Jackals, both suggest a figure of approximately 2.5 times the lion population, or between 64-68 Jackals on the reserve. The results are preliminary, but they are encouraging, both because they come out so close and because it is close to the estimate we would expect. For the species we detect less often on the spoor counts, such as Leopard and Cheetah, it may be that we first need to accumulate bigger data sets, or perhaps that other methods may be more appropriate for these elusive felids.
Many thanks to Theresa for the kind donation. We appreciate it and every bit helps towards furthering our work here