It is 3.30am on a summer’s day and Cole du Plessis grabs a rusk and chugs down a cup of coffee before the searing heat of the sun lights up the Zululand bush. He climbs into his mobile office – a Toyota pick-up – to start tracking some of Africa’s most endangered and persecuted predator species. This morning, he is searching for cheetahs and African wild dogs. There are only about 450 free-ranging adult wild dogs left in SA and less than 4,000 throughout Africa. Wild cheetahs have not fared much better, with only 7,000 left worldwide and about 1,200 in SA. Du Plessis drives to an old radio beacon tower in the Mkhuze Game Reserve and clambers up the steps to reach a high vantage point that allows him to search the surrounding land using a very high frequency telemetry set. To escape the sweltering weather, most predators get up very early to hunt and then find a shady spot to rest in during the heat of the day. Holding a mobile antennae above his head, he scans the horizon and listen...

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