Title page for ETD etd-11302009-220336


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Swanepoel, Lourens Hendrik
Email s96162831@tuks.co.za
URN etd-11302009-220336
Document Title Ecology and conservation of leopards, Panthera pardus, on selected game ranches in the Waterberg region, Limpopo, South Africa
Degree MSc
Department Animal and Wildlife Sciences
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof W van Hoven Supervisor
Keywords
  • game ranching areas
  • conservation of leopards
Date 2009-09-02
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Leopards (Panthera pardus) currently inhabit large parts outside formal conservation areas in South Africa. While leopards are not currently threatened in South Africa, regional populations are at risk. Conflict between leopards and ranchers is common in livestock and game ranching areas, often resulting in persecution. Negative attitudes towards leopards, caused by anti-predator sentiments and leopards preying on livestock and game are normally the reason for leopard persecution. The lack of data available for leopards on game ranches hampers current conservation efforts. A questionnaire survey was used to investigate the attitudes of ranchers towards leopards. Overall ranchers were positive towards leopards and negative attitudes towards leopards were attributed to their predation on livestock and game. Reported game and livestock losses were low, suggesting that local rumours play an equally important role in negative attitudes towards leopards. A Global Positioning System connected to cell phone transmitters [GPS/GMS] were fitted to leopards to determine home ranges and movement. GPS/GSM collars performed satisfactory with only 18 % of data missing. Leopards used smaller home ranges than expected. Social organisation was characterised by a mosaic of overlapping female ranges, while one male home range overlapped several female home ranges. Greater distances were travelled during the night than daytime. Home ranges of leopards covered a great number of ranches, while core areas were restricted to only a few ranches. Investigation of GPS clusters were used to determine age, sex and weight of prey killed by leopards. Data from kills were used in combination with scats to construct leopard diets. Leopards preyed on a variety of mammals, the most important being kudu (Tragelaphus strepiceros), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) and warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus). Suggestions for the management of leopards are discussed.

2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Swanepoel, LH 2008, Ecology and conservation of leopards, Panthera pardus, on selected game ranches in the Waterberg region, Limpopo, South Africa, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-11302009-220336/ >

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