Calling all nature enthusiasts in the Western Cape to partake in the new CLT leopard database project!

Calling all nature enthusiasts in the Western Cape to partake in the new CLT leopard database project!
Published: 25 November 2020

Sections in this story: Introduction | Online data portal | Call to Action

The Big Five and other large animals like hyenas and hippopotami once roamed the valleys and plains of the Cape region. Only the leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) has managed to persist, largely due to its adaptable and versatile nature, and still roams free in the mountainous regions of the Western Cape. However, the species faces multiple threats, including limited and fragmented habitat, reduction in prey numbers and high levels of conflict with people. The Cape Leopard Trust has embarked on a mission to create a consolidated database of leopard distribution and threats to leopards in the Western Cape Province. This database will contribute towards a leopard habitat suitability assessment and identifying ecological corridors for leopards in the region.

Online leopard data portal:

Leopards are nocturnal, solitary animals whose excellent camouflage and secretive nature often means that their presence in an area can go largely undetected. In a bid to centralise leopard presence data we have created an online data portal for citizen scientists to upload their leopard observations and contribute to our database. Within our online “Leopard Data Portal” you can submit your data to one of three purpose-built platforms, namely “Leopard Spotter”, “Threat Tracker” and “Snare Aware”.

Call to Action:

~ Contribute your records to our database
We are compiling all verifiable observations of leopards, their signs, and threats to leopards across the Western Cape. We are seeking contributions from 2010 onwards and would like to call on anyone with available data to please upload it to our portal. We are especially interested in observations outside of protected areas.

Leopard sighting records can consist of camera trap photos, leopard signs (i.e. spoor/tracks, scats/droppings, scratch marks on trees, feeding sites) and direct leopard observations (i.e. visual sightings). Examples of potential threats to leopards include traps (gin traps or cages), the use of poison, leopard roadkill, and livestock depredation events attributed to leopards.

How to submit: Go to app.capeleopard.org.za and follow the steps to create an account. Please note that a photo is required to validate submissions. Submitted data is confidential, anonymized, and stored securely. Please note that each data point must be inputted in the app individually, therefore if you have a large quantity of data to share or prefer to contribute via email, please contact [email protected] to request a spreadsheet for submissions.

The data portal is both desktop and mobile-friendly. Being a web-based application, it is compatible with various operating systems and you don’t need to download it to your mobile device. Merely save the link to your phone’s home screen and use it as an app.

~ Share and spread the word
By being observant in nature and sharing valuable data on leopard signs, threats to leopards, and wire snares, you can contribute to our scientific research and monitoring projects. The more people being observant in nature and looking through their data files, the more likely we are to meet our goals!

Acceptable trapping techniques

icon no trap The Cape Leopard Trust’s position statement on acceptable trapping techniques for carnivore research

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