Its because we are busy with the assessment of leopard (Panthera pardus) density and population size via a capture – recapture framework in an island bound conservation area in Namibia.
In the last decades human activities have led to the devastating destruction of large parts of natural habitats (Gaston, 2008) leading to the dramatic decrease and threatened status of many wildlife species worldwide. The leopard (Panthera pardus) is classified as “Near Threatened” according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN, 2014.2.).
Leopards occur across wide ranges of sub-Saharan Africa as well as inhabit parts of Northern Africa and tropical Asia (Friedmann & Holzer, 2008). Their adaptability and tolerance towards a wide range of various habitats as well as their secretive and elusive nature had let them survive in marginal areas from which other felid have disappeared completely (IUCN, 2014.2).
Despite their wide distribution throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the felids are declining dramatically in numbers and have disappeared from approximately 36.7% of their historical range (Ray et al. 2005) due to habitat fragmentation as well as intense persecution by humans. While sub-populations in North Africa and Asia are on the verge of extinction, Namibia’s population maintains stable numbers (Stein, Andreas & Aschenborn, 2011). With a total of only 17% of protected areas in forms of national parks, game reserves and recreational areas in Namibia (Turpi et al 2010), the majority of leopards occur on commercial and communal farmland where the sporadic predation of livestock induces an inevitable conflict between man and carnivore.
The necessity for the development and expansion of protected areas as well as the implementation and execution of improved livestock farming techniques on farmland are therefore of utmost importance to secure the survival of the Namibian leopard population.
Below is our latest report – It’s a fascinating study! Who would have ever thought the leopard population can be so high in an arid environment – yet our prey-base is as strong as ever . . . .
For those of you who have not read phase one: