Yesterday a fishing eagle swooped like I’ve never seen a swoop. These birds of prey have been keeping eagle eyes on forest sessions. This particular swoop came within a cat’s ear of the little leopard. We were stunned. It was a 3D documentary. Shiva and I were within metres of Asa as the eagle shot through the forest with talons ready for the grab.
We’d honestly thought Asa was too big to be taken by a fishing eagle. Maybe, at the very last second this awesome bird thought the same thing. Or maybe it was a warning swoop to say, get out of our territory, we are the top predator. It was fantastic. I ran to Asa and he stuck to me but he had that wild look of raw wonder that I love when he has a new experience. He was defiant. My good friend Alexiane Le Gentil is back in the country helping me with images for UNESCO proposals. Alex was well hidden in a new format we are testing and got some great shots as Asa had another day learning how to be a leopard, this time in a new forest area where eagles swoop…
In the last few days the Kaski Wildlife Crime Unit has also swooped. There’s been too many leopard deaths of late. Strong networking of intelligence and a no nonsense approach means charges are imminent. I can’t say too much more right now but as the pre monsoon heat starts to kick in and wildlife starts to look for the fewer available water sources it’s that time of the year when anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trade combat really kicks into gear.
Meanwhile the new camera trap I am developing is closer to a prototype. More knowledge of the wildlife we live with is crucial to the goal of reducing conflict. Leopards, superbly cunning day and night, and as Asa has taught me, incredibly quick learners, are key players. Wildlife protection involves many facets… and often gets the blood pumping…
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Jack Kinross Coordinator at WildTiger Conservation Research and Development
Credits: WildTiger – Jack Kinross