The Cape Leopard Trust is a research-based organisation that utilises a variety of research techniques to gain a better understanding of the ecology and behaviour of the animals we study.
By gathering invaluable data, we can make informed decisions, based on scientific fact. These data can be applied to areas of resource conservation, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and further research.
This section looks at some of the research techniques adopted by the Cape Leopard Trust.
Cape Leopards are notoriously shy and elusive, and extremely few people have been lucky enough to see one, and when they do it is usually only a short glimpse. Fortunately, there is a solution – digital cameras, containing an infrared sensor triggered by motion and heat (referred to as a camera trap). To read more about the camera trapping techniques we use, click here.
As part of the research we conduct on leopards in our project areas, we collect scats for dietary analysis. Through these studies we are able to determine what prey items are favoured by leopards which also have important management implications for this big cat. To read more on dietary analysis, and to find out what forms part of Cape leopards’ diets, click here.
In order to gather GPS points, we have to capture and collar leopards in our study areas. As these cats are highly elusive, we need to use innovative, safe and humane ways of catching them. As such, we utilise cage traps and foot loose traps to capture both leopard and caracal for collaring. For more on the trapping techniques we use, click here.
Because of the terrain in our project areas, it is seldom possible to use traditional methods of animal capture. It is therefore necessary for us to use trapping procedures that suit the rugged terrain in which we work. To read more about why we trap leopards and caracals and how we trap them, click here.