It’s all fun and games as Nuno Francisco, Peace Parks Public Relations in Mozambique, and South African film-maker Pieter Uys, once again team up and head to Zinave National Park, looking for wildlife and rangers to film. Let’s just say that the comedic duo get slightly waylaid with their filming mission, as Nuno takes Pieter to ‘the leopard’s den’.
Forming a part of the Big 5, the leopard is an elusive big cat that does a very good job of concealing itself up in large trees or slinking away in shady groves, allowing them to surprise unsuspecting prey. Even in areas where leopard are plentiful, catching a glimpse of them can be a significant challenge and with over 408 000 ha of wilderness such as in Zinave National Park, the task is that much greater. With two leopard having been introduced into Zinave last year, it would be the cherry on top for the pair to stumble across these spotted felines.
Despite the odds not being in their favour, they search high and low for one of Zinave’s coy cats in a well-shaded area that is known to be one of the leopard’s popular hangouts. With no leopard in sight, Pieter and Nuno give up on their big cat search doubting whether they are even still around. Thanks to sneaky images taken from a camera trap in the park, it turns out that the leopard had ventured off from this area and was last seen near Zinave Pan. Their fitted collars which allow the team to collect information about the relocated leopards’ movements, the data indicates that the male leopard’s movements are largely restricted Zinave Pan and the nearby Sacred Forest, which hosts several small mammal species and birdlife.
Next, Pieter and Nuno make their way to Zinave’s new viewing deck, which overlooks a small waterhole. This viewing deck is unlike any other, as it is built around an ancient baobab tree, allowing visitors the opportunity to scan the horizon for wildlife in every direction. After getting the shots that they needed, the duo head out on their next filming adventure and this time, luck was on their side as they managed to catch a quick glimpse of a herd of giant pachyderms.
Last up on things to film for the day, the pair headed to Zinave’s ranger camp to capture footage of the new ranger recruits, who happened to be on a training run through the bush. Nuno and Pieter got a little more than they bargained for as they tried to keep up with these fit rangers and instead enlist the help of a GoPro head mount to capture some unique angles.
All in a day’s work to share stories from the ground to connect you to Africa’s wild spaces and of course, to tell the Peace Parks story.