Centre for African Conservation Ecology
In: Minnie L. (2009) Socio-economic and ecological correlates of leopard-stock farmer interactions in the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve, Eastern Cape. M.Sc. Thesis. Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Many carnivores kill species that humans hunt, harvest, or farm. Humans respond to this by killing carnivores, which may lead to the local extinction of carnivore populations.
Leopard-livestock conflict in the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve, South Africa is a major issue. We investigated where leopards tend to kill livestock, and the vegetation characteristics of these areas.
What we found
• Although locally perceived as a major issue, leopards kill fewer livestock than jackal and caracal
• Leopard predation on livestock is largely localised to areas bordering the Baviaanskloof Mega-Reserve
• Leopards prefer killing livestock in ‘hotspots’ in rugged, densely vegetated areas of Thicket vegetation.
• Our study shows that focussing on a single source of conflict (leopards) may mask other important problems (jackal and caracal).
• Keeping livestock in the dense vegetation next to reserves (which support leopards) is risky, as leopards focus attacks in these habitats. Thus, farmers should try reduce the presence of livestock in these areas.
• Identification of ‘hotspots’ of leopard-livestock conflict, allows management actions to reduce such conflict.
Liaan has completed his leopard research and now focuses on black-backed jackal populations in the Karoo (see Projects in Progress).
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Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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