Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
The CLT have provided a bursary for Masters student Therese Rautenbach attending NMMU under the supervision of Prof Graeme Kerley and Quinton. She is currently doing a study on leopard diet in three mountain regions in the Cape. The Cederberg study has provided a significant sample size of leopard scats to analyse, while the Gamka project is currently focussing on collecting as many scats (old or fresh) as possible to see what leopard diet in this area might be. These will be compared to diet of leopard in the eastern Cape, and will be a very useful management tool, enabling one to determine prey preference, abundance as well as an indication of leopard habitat preference. One will also note the presence (or absence) of domestic livestock in leopard diet in these regions where conflict is perceived to result in massive economic loss. Results of this study will be available at the end of the year.
University of Stellenbosch
Our leopard conservation genetics project is still well underway under the supervision of Prof Conrad Matthee of Stellenbosch University. The CLT have committed to further sponsorship of this invaluable project we initiated in 2004. A Master’s thesis was published on this in 2006, and further work by a post-doc student in the Stellenbosch laboratory will soon provide more in-depth information on the population status of our diminutive mountain cats.
University of Cape Town
Quinton has recently been involved in setting up another project through UCT’s EGS department under his supervision as well as that of Prof Mike Meadows. This is an Honours project undertaken by Lindsay Patterson, looking at various digital mapping tools to determine and predict habitat use of leopard in different mountainous regions in SA. GPS data taken from a couple of Cederberg leopards will be used to plot the parameters of preferred routes used by both male and female leopards. Lindsay has chosen quite a task – how to get into the mind of a leopard...
Willem has been keeping things going in the Cederberg while Quinton has been visiting the other projects. He has also gone out to spend 2 weeks on the Namaqua project to help the guys learn how to set up camera trap stations and to do some tracking.