Research plays a key role in the functions undertaken by the Cape Leopard Trust. Our organisation is constantly striving to learn more about the species we study, to gather information which can be used to better inform resource managers, land owners and other interested parties in ensuring that the conservation of ecosystems in our project areas is conducted in an informed manner. This section covers the species we study, the techniques we apply to conservation research and the issues faced in humans and wildlife conflict.
The leopard currently fills the role of apex predator in the area under research by the Cape Leopard Trust. However, the conservation status of this iconic animal remains uncertain. Currently, habitat loss or human encroachment into suitable leopard habitat is the biggest threat to the species. Leopards habitat requirements seem quite specific – they need a functioning ecosystem primarily in mountainous, rocky or bushy areas. Leopard persecution by farmers due to conflict could still be a problem, but not as much as a decade or more ago. Because Cape Mountain leopard densities are low, the possibility that disease could impact on their survival is something The Cape Leopard Trust is investigating.
The Cape Leopard Trust is undertaking studies throughout the Cederberg, Boland and Gouritz areas to further our understanding of leopard ecology and behaviour, and to find ways of mitigating human-wildlife conflict.
For more on leopards, click here.
Caracals are widespread throughout Africa, yet very little has been published regarding their spatial ecology and the way they interact with other predators and humans. The Cederberg Caracal Project aims to improve the current knowledge about the ecology and behaviour of this species, and its interactions with the Cape leopard as well as with livestock farmers.
For more on the research work being done on caracals, click here.
A significant decline in Black eagle populations around southern Africa is cause for alarm. This bird of prey fills an apex predator role, and changes to habitat, nesting areas and food sources could be to blame for their demise. The Black Eagle Project hopes to critically examine the impacts that land use change is having on Black eagle populations and their main prey items.
For information on the black eagle project, click here.
The Cape Leopard Trust has a variety of research techniques in its arsenal of data gathering. From digital camera traps through to humane methods of capturing leopards and caracal, the Cape Leopard Trust aims to utilse scientific best practice to obtain invaluable information in the quest for improving our understanding of the ecosystems we work in.
For further insight into the research techniques we adopt, click here.
The interface between man and beast is a complex one. Adding to this complexity is that science and emotion often need to go hand in hand in finding solutions. By employing constructive solution-seeking strategies that include farmers and other affected parties, the Cape Leopard Trust is committed to finding solutions to the problems of human-wildlife conflicts in our study areas.
To read more about how we limit human-wildlife conflict, click here.
We are proud to be affiliated with organisations and institutions that share our passion for conservation and research. We look forward to continuing our partnerships, and plan on building on our relationships even further in the future. To view our Partners, click here.
As a research-based organisation, the Cape Leopard Trust looks for ways to improve our operations with contemporary equipment and materials for field work and data analyses. As such, we appeal to the public and private sectors to aid our cause, by donating items that we need to carry out our roles and responsibilities as optimally as possible.
Should you be in a position to help the Cape Leopard Trust and would like to see our current wish list, click here.
The Cape Leopard Trust is committed to sharing the data we collect with scientific communities, conservation organisations and private individuals. The more information we can distribute about the ecology and behaviour of the species we study, the better informed people will be of their actions on ecosystem health.
For a comprehensive list of Cape Leopard Trust publications, click here.