The leopard is the most successful large carnivore in Africa, using its elusiveness to inhabit a wider range of habitat than the rest of the large predator guild. Nonetheless, it was declared a vulnerable species in 2015, due to its decline. The Khwai area is blessed with a number of beautiful leopards which inhabit the landscape. In order to gain a better understanding of the population dynamics and survival strategies to better inform conservation strategies, we have partnered with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, the University of New South Wales and the Okavango Research Institute on this project.
Human-wildlife conflict means that life can be perilous for leopards, particularly those who live in an area that’s also populated by humans and their livestock. Fortunately, the local leopard population have found a safe haven on the edge of the Moremi Reserve within the large tracts of Mopane woodland, but little is known about them.
While the Khwai Private Reserve Rangers have been monitoring the leopards in the southern portion of the reserve for three years, we now have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of territory locations, sizes, overlap and intraspecific interactions. Furthermore, this study will shed light on the viability of the population residing well within the reserve versus those closer to villages.
The researchers working on this project are often available to give talks on their work and progress at Tuludi Camp. Visits to the Tau research base in Khwai Private Reserve can also be pre-arranged while the researchers are in residence.
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