Science Coordinator's Leopard Project Proposal

By 5 years ago
Categories Limpopo and KZN

Jamie Sangster, Karongwe’s Science Coordinator, presented his leopard (Panthera pardus) project proposal at the Karongwe Land Owners Meeting where is was met with unanimous approval. The project, entitled “Cost effective non-invasive monitoring for advising management of meta-population leopards” hopes to investigate the effectiveness and versatility of camera traps as a tool to monitor leopard populations across small game reserves. Having written it as a proposed Masters study, Jamie’s research will not only benefit Karongwe Game Reserve, but also the future of leopard/big cat management.

Because Karongwe already has a rough estimate of the leopard population, this study will be able to confirm the effectiveness of the camera trap method. On a more general and wider scale it can look at a comparison and analysis validity of research methods used to study carnivores, especially in reducing invasive and/or unethical methods of monitoring natural populations (such as mass implanting or collaring of the entyre population).

Other objectives include: determine/confirm the density and social structure, predict and test stability based on food availability, investigate recruitment and survival rates, observe interspecific competition, compare micro-sighting effectiveness, analyse habitat/spatial utilization, prey distribution data, temporal patterns of activity, identify individual management strategy options, validate sensitivity of the capture-recapture modeling, and observing the comparative costs.

In the near future we hope to start implementing his study and not only help improve Karongwe’s understanding of the leopard population and individual spatial utilization but also contribute to research on other small game reserves about leopard population numbers.