×

Warning

JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 62

Research Techniques - old

Children categories

Human-wildlife conflict

Human-wildlife conflict (6)

leopard caught

The Cape Leopard Trust recognises that farmer-predator conflict remains a highly emotive issue – both for those who lose livestock as well as for those of us who are wholly opposed to the destructive and indiscriminate methods of predator control. The Cape Leopard Trust is committed to reducing human-wildlife conflict wherever possible.

In seeking solutions, The Cape Leopard Trust has always been committed to establishing sustainable long-term strategies to human-wildlife conflict, based on scientific fact rather than emotional conjecture. To achieve this, we employ two simple methodologies:

  1. We rely on rigorous scientific studies to back up our research findings.
  2. We employ constructive solution-seeking strategies that include farmers and other affected parties, as opposed to berating and alienating them.

We do not engage in attacks on those with a different viewpoint, as this compromises our integrity. Instead, we urge all stakeholders to redirect their efforts towards constructive collaboration with the Cape Leopard Trust, with farmers and with statutory organisations, based on tried and tested methods.

The Cape Leopard Trust is however sensitive to the reality of what is happening in certain farming areas in which we are working. On a regular basis we bear witness to the fact that farmers are often pushed to a point of absolute desperation due to pervasive livestock-predator conflict. We are also aware that there are many farmers who have tried various options and methods in an attempt to manage their predator problems in a more humane way, sometimes with mixed success. The fact remains though that there is a perception by the farming induxtry that over R1 billion per annum livestock losses are due to “problem” animals.

View items...
We use walk-through cage traps when we need to catch leopards. These require no bait as they are set in a suitable area and disguised as a natural tunnel. Importantly, various means are used to slow the leopard down in the centre of the cage allowing the doors to close with it well inside. Quinton is constantly working on improving the traps and students from the University of Stellenbosch’s Engineering Department are currently completing a new system whereby an image…
A key priority of the Cape Leopard Trust is to invest in and empower scientific research. The result is that the employees, students and associates of the CLT have authored and co-authored a number of peer-reviewed academic articles. Such scientific papers are vital to consistently improve the strategic management of the ecosystems and landscapes in which we work. Contributions to scientific literature are a valuable tool to assist researchers globally by sharing knowledge. Mann, G.K.H., O’Riain. M.J. and Parker, D.M. (2020) A…
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…
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. The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques…
Camera-trapping has proved to be a very effective way of estimating the numbers of elusive and nocturnal animals such as leopards, jaguars and tigers. It is a non-invasive and comparatively affordable option, since it does not require the capture, handling, or immobilisation of animals. Photographs of leopards are an exceptionally useful tool, since each leopard has a distinctive spot pattern by which it can be identified, like our fingerprints. Camera traps can be deployed singly, but ideally a camera station…
Cage traps Cage traps (or box traps) are a method of capturing wild animals that are considered "non-lethal or friendly". In support of our ongoing research, the Cape Leopard Trust uses purpose built cage traps, under close supervision, when and where applicable. It is, for instance, very easy to release a non-target species (relatively) unharmed from a cage trap. We have, however, come across several incidents where animals, including leopards, have been caught in cage traps that have not been…
Why do we trap leopards and caracals? Trapping any wild animal inevitably causes the captured animal a lot of stress, and with that stress comes the risk of injury or even death. Trapping can thus only be justified in circumstances when the information to be gained from research will be of high value, both from an academic and management perspective, outweighing possible or even remote risks. We fit a GPS collar with which we can track the leopards. This is…
Trapping wild animals is an invasive process unavoidably causing the captured animal stress and a risk of injury. Trapping therefore needs to be justified i.e. benefits of trapping must outweigh the risks. When trapping large predators such as leopards these risks are high and can only be carried out if the researcher’s institutions (e.g. University) and government conservation bodies (e.g. CapeNature) ethics committees approve the study. During this ethics review process, approval of a study is usually only given to…
This inappropriate title is applied to a damage-causing animal, especially in cases of livestock depredation. The culprit (often misidentified on an individual or even species basis) is a wild animal doing what it is programmed to do – survive. In some cases leopards, caracals and jackals will prey on unattended and vulnerable livestock. It is expected of predators to kill. From the Cape Leopard Trust’s standpoint, we prefer to work with farmers to pre-empt these conflict situations by applying alternative…
Where leopards come into conflict with farmers by killing livestock, at least three outcomes present themselves: (i) the farmer wants the leopard killed; (ii) the farmer wants the leopard removed from his property, but not killed and (iii) the farmer does not mind having the leopard on his property. Our predator research attempts to understand the ecology of these animals in order to mitigate the conflict in question. Understanding predator movement, behaviour, diet preferences and activity can give us insight…
In addition to the "hard science" research component, the Cape Leopard Trust is also actively involved in the training and empowering of local community residents as well as working with farming communities to find ways to minimize depredation of livestock by the Cape's threatened and persecuted predator population. The objective of finding solutions for farmers who encounter problems with wildlife in their area includes encouraging the view that the tourism and conservation value of wildlife may in certain circumstances exceed…
Apart from the stance we take on outlawing gin traps in South Africa, and the success we have had with this initiative in the Cederberg Conservancy, the Cape Leopard Trust has in the past also promoted the use of Anatolian Shepard dogs or livestock guardian dogs to reduce livestock depredation. Publicity created in this regard has significantly altered the views and perceptions of other farmers and landowners in the existing study area.
As an organisation committed to predator research and wildlife conservation, The Cape Leopard Trust welcomes feedback from the public – especially constructive input and any questions – please do not hesitate to contact us should you require more detail or if you wish to assist us in some respect.
If you are interested in reading more about human-wildlife conflict, we have provided two excellent academic articles that support the Cape Leopard Trust's stance on the issues. Treves, A. & Ullas Karanth, K. (2003). Human-carnivore conflict and perspectives on carnivore management worldwide. Conservation Biology, 1491-1499. Athreya, V. (2006). Is relocation a viable management option for unwanted animals? - The case of the leopard in   India. Conservation and Society 4(3).

Acceptable trapping techniques

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

Read more

spacer

spacer