AfriCat's Leopard Research Project
Why we need your help
The research programmes at the AfriCat Foundation based at Okonjima lodge have been curtailed due to the the Covid pandemic.
Leopards were one of the first big cats studied on the Okonjima Nature Reserve where research work, in various forms, has continued ever since. The early studies in the 1980’s began to tease out the reasons that there were more losses of cattle if the farmers shot the territorial male leopard. In a nutshell this created vacuum that attracted other leopards looking for a place to call home!
Leopards tend to be solitary; they are past masters at becoming invisible and stalk their prey before a final pounce. They have a varied diet and are opportunistic hunters. Leopards are even adapting to a more urban life in some areas. At Okonjima like elsewhere the leopards can be seen taking their prey up into trees – an increasing necessity as the brown hyena love to scavenge and will try to take the kill from the leopard. There have been some interesting with tugs of war encounters.
Monitoring leopard density and prey on an island bound reserve has been important. The research has shown a higher than average density of leopards in the reserve. The density of leopards and brown hyenas created problems for the rehabilitated cheetah. Leopards are able to surivie in inhospitable habitat and are known to have a homing instinct. They are also crafty and even occasionally move in and out of what are supposed to be secure fences!
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