A General Overview of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa – Focusing on Leopard Sightings from a Photographical and Ethological Perspective
The presentation will be a photographical journey through the Greater Kruger National Park. Brief information will be given on the history and the ecology of the park.
The focus will be on leopard sightings and the differences in the behavior between leopard found on private land and those found in the public spaces. One of the private farms is known as the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, and it forms a part of the Western Boundary of the Greater Kruger National Park.
The Public spaces in the Kruger National Park are able to be self-driven, and you may take your own vehicle or hire a vehicle to go and look for wildlife. There are many rules that apply to these self drive safaris, one of which is no off-roading. This means that if you see something interesting in the distance, it is impossible to get closer unless it moves towards the road.
In the private reserves, you may not use your own vehicle, and here you need to go on organized trip in an open game viewer. The benefit of the game viewer is that you are able to follow an interesting sighting off-road. These organized drives are conducted by professional guides and are often accompanied by trained trackers who are able to find the animals based on the evidence they leave behind.
The presentation will focus on the differences in behavior exhibited by a leopard with regards to the self-drive system with no off-roading and organized game drives where off-roading is allowed. It will highlight the differences in photographical opportunities and give the pros and cons of each.
About the Speaker:
Sean Parker was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1974. In 1977 the family relocated to the small coastal village of Umhlanga Rocks in Kwa Zulu-Natal where nature still abounded. Being able to watch wild dolphins from the front garden as well as having mongoose, vervet monkeys, Blue Duiker and a whole host of other animals in the area, instilled a deep love and passion for the Animal Kingdom.
In 1997, Sean began his career with animals by starting off as a bird trainer at the Umgeni River Bird Park in Durban, South Africa. This show was the first free-flight bird show in Africa and focused on endangered African birds (Wattled Crane, Blue Crane, Crowned Crane, Southern Ground Hornbill and Cape Vulture). In addition, the show allowed guests to come face to face with exotic species such as Palm Cockatoos and various macaw species. In total there were over 30 different bird species in the show ranging from tiny owls, small raptors, large eagles, parrots, lorikeets, pelican and even Marabou Storks.
During his time working with birds, Sean managed to do an internship in the United States and studied bird training and behavior with Steve Martin – not the actor.
Wanting to experience more of South Africa and the incredible wildlife it offered, Sean studied guiding in 2001 and qualified as a guide though FGASA, where he spent the next few years living and working in the African bush.
After working with the creatures of the air and terrestrial beasts, Sean wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of working with dolphins. In 2004 he was accepted into a position as an assistant trainer at uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa. In 2007, Sean accepted a position as a Marine Mammal Specialist in Dubai and is now an Associate Director for Marine Mammals