Challenges and Successes in Predator Collaring: Insights from the Field with Dr. Jen Lawrence

Operational procedures for collaring predators vary based on species. Lions and hyenas are attracted using specific animal calls during night call-ups, employing distress calls of buffalo, wildebeest, or warthog for lions and a range of hyena calls for hyenas.

Despite efforts, call-ups do not guarantee success, and veterinarians and conservation teams often spend hours waiting for unresponsive animals. Cheetahs pose a unique challenge as they may not always respond to calls, and playing a cheetah call could even deter them.

For cheetahs, reliance is placed on sightings, with veterinarians

swiftly responding to call outs of uncollared individuals, emphasizing the importance of luck and patience in these encounters.

Dr Jen Lawrence assisted Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with the successful collaring of a lioness and female cheetah in December. She also attended two hyena call-ups which were unfortunately unsuccessful.