Ongava Research Centre Blog...

2015 - Week 28
- (Added 12. Jul. 2015 - 11:00)

Here’s an interesting follow-up from the last blog… Science Daily reported that James Cook University have been using camera traps in Malaysia to reveal the spots in black leopards – they trick the cameras into shooting infra-red during the day, and hence the spots stand out better against the background. Just as for the hyaena images we showed last week…  Here’s an example of the image – we borrowed this from the Science Daily site, so below is the link to the article, plus the photo credit goes to James Cook University.

See: (James Cook University. "Mysterious black leopards finally reveal their spots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2015. <>.)

2015 - Week 27
- (Added 5. Jul. 2015 - 11:00)

This is the time of the year when we start to prepare for our seasonal camera trap surveys – we will soon extend our coverage to all water points on the reserve. For our carnivore surveys we place camera traps at the optimal heights and distances to be able to record decent quality images of these species. We then use mark-recapture statistics to estimate population numbers. Ideally, each time a carnivore is sighted, we hope to be able to recognize that individual, thereby building up a set of observations for as many known individuals as possible for each species. Obviously this is easier for species with spots or stripes, but quite difficult for some of the smaller uniformly marked species such as caracal. We say ‘easier’, but that does not mean ‘easy’… Interestingly, our ability to ID individuals is often easier at night. The pair of images below shows the same spotted hyaena at about the same distance from a camera trap – one in daytime, the other at night using a covert infrared flash. The infrared light appears to enhance the difference between the dark spots and the background of the coat, helping us to recognize the ID patterns.

2015 - Week 26
- (Added 28. Jun. 2015 - 11:00)

It would seem that this small spotted genet is auditioning for a role in the next ‘Madagascar’ movie – with its tail held high like that it is certainly reminiscent of a lemur. Mind you, I think the genet might struggle turning the pages of the script – unlike the lemur, which is a primate, this genet is a carnivore so no opposable thumbs…

2015 - Week 25
- (Added 21. Jun. 2015 - 11:00)

Another two for the price of one! June is clearly bargain month… The following shots were taken within 12h of each other, same waterhole, using our camera trap array placed at the middle of the waterhole. Both these species are named after Verreaux. One Verreaux’s eagle, and the other Verreaux’s eagle-owl. These pictures are at about the same scale – that is a BIG owl. Hence an alternative name of giant eagle-owl.


2015 - Week 24
- (Added 14. Jun. 2015 - 11:00)

We are pleased to report that this week ORC received a very generous grant from the Ann Dunne and Anthony Cerami Foundation for World Health. The donation was made in memoriam of their close friend Mariette Horstink, and will be used to provide further equipment and information systems for Ongava’s anti-poaching units. We also named one of our young female white rhinos ‘Mariette’ in her honor – here she is:

We hope that these additional security and monitoring measures will allow us to provide Mariette and her fellow rhinos a long and productive life on Ongava.


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