Information

Leopard Project

Location: NTGR, Botswana
Members: 29
Latest Activity: Nov 21, 2013

Overview

The Northern Tuli Predator Project was started in 2007 and focuses mainly on the study of lions and leopards. Additional large carnivore species have also since been selected for further studies, as part of the greater carnivore assemblage in the reserve. These include spotted hyaenas and cheetah. The leopard component of the project has been running since 2005.

 

Leopards are notoriously difficult to study due to their secretive nature, the habitats they frequent, and their low densities. Although leopards have been studied across a wide range of habitats, there is still a need for further study particularly with respect to management and human conflict. In the Northern Tuli Game Reserve we have initiated a long-term leopard project. Aspects investigated include behavioral ecology, population dynamics, movement patterns, population density estimation, habitat preference, prey selection and human conflict. Thus far 29 leopards have been monitored by means of VHF and GPS radio collars. Over 40 successful captures have been made with leopards having been either cage trapped or free darted.

 

Abstract from presentation at the 8th Annual Savanna Science Network Meeting, held at Skukuza – Kruger National Park, 2010.


Here we examine aspects of the spatial-, behavioral- and feeding-ecology of Northern Tuli leopards. Male leopards had much larger home ranges than females. Average home range size (90% Kernel density estimate: 87.1 ± 48.2 km²) and core home ranges (50% Kernel: 14.3 ± 16.6 km²) were substantially larger for adult males than for adult females (90% Kernel: 31.4 ± 14.5 km²; 50% Kernel: 5.0 ± 3.6 km²). Five male and two female leopards have been recorded moving outside the reserve’s borders, mainly into the Tuli Safari Area, Zimbabwe. These movements resulted in death due to safari hunting of one male. Furthermore, dispersing young males showed increased shyness when returning from their excursions outside the reserve. Prey selection data was derived from 611 kills recorded over nine years by game drives. Impala made up 88% of all recorded kills.

 

Aims of the project:

To determine:

  • Social organization of male leopards
  • Habitat selection and preference
  • Prey selection and preference in combination with landscape features and topograpgy
  • Risk assessment from leopards to neighboring hostile areas
  • Leopard population structure and dynamics

Also to:

  • Improve current knowledge on camera trapping methods and models for population calculation
  • Improve / device new methods and materials for leopard capture & monitoring
  • Attract international attention to the state and fate of leopards


Scientists


Project manager - Andrei Snyman

Tribute to a king.pdf

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Comment by Andrei Snyman on March 25, 2010 at 2:51am
Hi Kevin & Diane. Good to hear from you. Thanks. Wouldn't mind seeing a jaguar! The photo you posted of the leopard sitting in the tree-fork, was a male I later had collared, but died earlier this month. It was a dispersing male that got killed (far from his normal home range), most likely by another resident adult male. The direct cause of death could not be established however, since the carcass was first 'visited' by spotted hyaenas... so the remains didn't tell the whole story.
Comment by Kelvin & Diane Brown on March 24, 2010 at 2:14pm
Andrei, you are doing a great job, wish we could be there. We will be back on year, last year went to the Pantanal, seen three Jaguars. Check out my website http://willowgarden.photium.com
 

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