The Cape Leopard Trust

Sun Valley, South Africa

The Cape Leopard Trust

Sun Valley, South Africa
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Rich L.N.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | Rich L.N.,University of California at Berkeley | Davis C.L.,Pennsylvania State University | Farris Z.J.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University | And 26 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2017

Aim: Biodiversity loss is a major driver of ecosystem change, yet the ecological data required to detect and mitigate losses are often lacking. Recently, camera trap surveys have been suggested as a method for sampling local wildlife communities, because these observations can be collated into a global monitoring network. To demonstrate the potential of camera traps for global monitoring, we assembled data from multiple local camera trap surveys to evaluate the interchange between fine- and broad-scale processes impacting mammalian carnivore communities. Location: Argentina, Belize, Botswana, Canada, Indonesia, Iran, Madagascar, Nepal, Norway, Senegal, South Africa, and the U.S.A. Methods: We gathered camera trap data, totalling > 100,000 trap nights, from across five continents. To analyse local and species-specific responses to anthropogenic and environmental variables, we fitted multispecies occurrence models to each study area. To analyse global-level responses, we then fitted a multispecies, multi-area occurrence model. Results: We recorded 4,805 detections of 96 mammalian carnivore species photographed across 1,714 camera stations located in 12 countries. At the global level, our models revealed that carnivore richness and occupancy within study areas was positively associated with prey availability. Occupancy within study areas also tended to increase with greater protection and greater distances to roads. The strength of these relationships, however, differed among countries. Main conclusions: We developed a research framework for leveraging global camera trap data to evaluate patterns of mammalian carnivore occurrence and richness across multiple spatial scales. Our research highlights the importance of intact prey populations and protected areas in conserving carnivore communities. Our research also highlights the potential of camera traps for monitoring wildlife communities and provides a case study for how this can be achieved on a global scale. We encourage greater integration and standardization among camera trap studies worldwide, which would help inform effective conservation planning for wildlife populations both locally and globally. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


de Satge J.,University of Antwerp | Teichman K.,University of British Columbia | Cristescu B.,The Cape Leopard Trust | Cristescu B.,University of Cape Town
Oecologia | Year: 2017

The potential for strong competition among small sympatric carnivores results in a need for coexistence strategies whereby competitors partition along spatial, temporal and dietary axes as a means to reduce ecological overlaps. We determined spatial and temporal partitioning patterns of a guild of small African carnivores: the African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica, grey mongoose Galerella pulverulenta, small-spotted genet Genetta genetta, striped polecat Ictonyx striatus, and the yellow mongoose Cynictis penicillata. We quantified the degree of spatial and temporal co-occurrence of the small carnivores using camera trap data over a year-long period. Carnivores separated into two temporal groups: nocturnal species (wildcat, polecat and genet) and diurnal species (mongooses). In addition, carnivores within the same temporal group had strong patterns of reduced spatial co-occurrence. The smaller bodied carnivores showed lower co-occurrence with the larger bodied African wildcat than expected by chance, supporting the idea of dominant competitor avoidance. Thus, small carnivores likely minimise competitive interactions through spatio-temporal habitat partitioning. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany


Ropiquet A.,Middlesex University | Ropiquet A.,Stellenbosch University | Knight A.T.,Imperial College London | Knight A.T.,Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University | And 9 more authors.
Comptes Rendus - Biologies | Year: 2015

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is heavily persecuted in areas where it predates livestock and threatens human well-being. Attempts to resolve human-leopard conflict typically involve translocating problem animals; however, these interventions are rarely informed by genetic studies and can unintentionally compromise the natural spatial genetic structure and diversity, and possibly the long-term persistence, of the species. No significant genetic discontinuities were definable within the southern African leopard population. Analysis of fine-scale genetic data derived from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA revealed that the primary natural process shaping the spatial genetic structure of the species is isolation-by-distance (IBD). The effective gene dispersal (σ) index can inform leopard translocations and is estimated to be 82. km for some South African leopards. The importance of adopting an evidence-based strategy is discussed for supporting the integration of genetic data, spatial planning and social learning institutions so as to promote collaboration between land managers, government agency staff and researchers. © 2015 Académie des sciences.


PubMed | The Cape Leopard Trust, PO Box 632, Imperial College London, University of Bergen and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Comptes rendus biologies | Year: 2015

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is heavily persecuted in areas where it predates livestock and threatens human well-being. Attempts to resolve human-leopard conflict typically involve translocating problem animals; however, these interventions are rarely informed by genetic studies and can unintentionally compromise the natural spatial genetic structure and diversity, and possibly the long-term persistence, of the species. No significant genetic discontinuities were definable within the southern African leopard population. Analysis of fine-scale genetic data derived from mitochondrial and nuclear DNA revealed that the primary natural process shaping the spatial genetic structure of the species is isolation-by-distance (IBD). The effective gene dispersal () index can inform leopard translocations and is estimated to be 82 km for some South African leopards. The importance of adopting an evidence-based strategy is discussed for supporting the integration of genetic data, spatial planning and social learning institutions so as to promote collaboration between land managers, government agency staff and researchers.


Martins Q.,The Cape Leopard Trust | Martins Q.,University of Bristol | Horsnell W.G.C.,University of Cape Town | Titus W.,The Cape Leopard Trust | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2011

Studying leopards Panthera pardus in mountainous regions is challenging and there is little ecological information on their behaviour in these habitats. We used data from global positioning system (GPS) radio-collared leopards in conjunction with leopard scat analysis to identify key aspects of leopard feeding habits in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa. We located 53 leopard kill/feeding sites from clustered GPS locations of ≥4 h and analysed 93 leopard scats. Both methods showed that klipspringers Oreotragus oreotragus and rock hyraxes Procavia capensis were the most common prey. GPS location clusters showed that the time leopards spent at a given location was positively related both to the probability of detecting prey remains and to prey size. Leopards made significantly more large kills in winter than summer (P=0.003); there was no significant difference between male and female leopards in the average number of large kills or the average time spent at large kill sites. We show that, when studying large carnivores in inaccessible areas, it is important to use a combination of techniques to understand their feeding ecology and that GPS locations can be used to provide an accurate measure of diet even when small prey are being taken. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2010 The Zoological Society of London.


Martins Q.,The Cape Leopard Trust | Martins Q.,University of Bristol | Harris S.,University of Bristol
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2013

Few data are available on the behaviour of leopards in the absence of competing large predators and human impact, both of which are believed to influence leopard activity and movements. Remote camera traps and global positioning system (GPS) collars were used to quantify leopard activity in the Cederberg Mountains, seasonal and sexual differences in their movements, and determine whether nocturnal hunting success was related to lunar activity. Seventy-seven per cent of camera-trap photographs were at night, with a strong male bias (69%) in captures. Daily displacement using one location per day suggested that males moved significantly further than females. However, multiple locations (≥6 per day) showed no difference because males moved in a more linear fashion, but not further each day, than females. In the Cederberg Mountains, an open rocky habitat with low human impact and no competing predators, leopards were predominantly nocturnal, mainly hunting diurnal prey species. Hunting success was low: leopards travelled long distances between kills, with nocturnal hunting success higher on darker nights. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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