Most predators can be elusive and difficult to find, but you only have to look in the right place at the right time to get a glimpse of the predators of Zululand.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
African Wild Dogs are diurnal hunters, and run long distances to catch their prey. They are most active during the early hours of the day and late in the afternoon when the bush is nice and cool. Look for them while they are on the hunt and you might get lucky, but it does mean that you will have to wake up extra early!
Cheetahs, like Wild Dogs, are also daytime hunters and prefer to be active when temperatures are cooler. They do, however, spend a lot of time resting to conserve their energy as their short, high speed sprinting is very exhausting. Look for them lying flat on the ground under the shade of some trees on hot days.
Leopards are nocturnal animals and use their stealth to hunt their prey. This makes them even more difficult to see, like many predators of Zululand. They are generally shy and very well camouflaged. They do, however, like to climb and will often pull their kills up a tree to keep it away from scavengers. Be sure to look out (and up) for these elusive cats, as they might be hiding in the trees. To increase your chances even further, go on a night drive, where you might see one on the prowl.
African Wild Dogs, Cheetahs and Leopards are three of the priority species and predators of Zululand that Wildlife ACT monitors each year. Join our Endangered and Priority Species Monitoring programme if you are interested in joining us in the field.
Text and images by Wildlife ACT Priority Species Monitors on iMfolozi, Chris du Toit and Gareth Robinson