Category

Conservation

Leopard Research Project, Greater Kruger

By | Conservation, News
The Leopard Research Project in the Greater Kruger area is focused on data collection which assists with conservation solutions that protect species and individuals, and contributes to the health of the entire ecosystem.
Population of large carnivores are threatened and experiencing declines in numbers globally. Over a third of South Africa’s leopard habitat is found in just Limpopo province, yet 95% of that is outside of formally protected areas. Despite these issues, the majority of population and conservation-based research has occurred in protected areas. This has led to a lack of data or unreliable results to inform conservation practice. This is why our Leopard Research Project in the Greater Kruger was created.

It is vital that the Leopard Research Project that is done through data collection in Greater Kruger is conducted on private land and that populations are studied in these areas to work towards evidence-based conservation practice. Ultimately, it is only through focused research in these areas that we can develop conservation solutions that will protect these species and individuals’ livelihoods, thus contributing to the health of entire ecosystems.

Through the camera traps bought and in use we are hoping to achieve:
– Leopard captures (photos collected on camera traps)
– Corridors monitored
– Density Studies completed
– Territorial/movement maps created for various predator species
– Snare sweeps completed

In the Greater Kruger Area, the Foundation liaise with multiple partners, both reserve and research, to maximise our data output and ensure that the conservation work we are undertaking with big cats and small species is beneficial and useful. The three main reserve partners, Buffaloland, Rietspruit and Balule, are essential areas to capture data, study specific animals and provide information to our research partners (INGWE, LiMF, Hyaena Specialist Group of the IUCN, EWT and Giraffe Conservation Foundation) to better assess distribution and abundance of their focal species.

  • 2017: We identified the great need of camera traps as a way for us to collect this crucial data in a non-invasive method and to study animals that are usually difficult to study under normal circumstances, such as highly elusive and/or nocturnal animals, especially leopards. The non-invasive camera traps negate the need for equipment such as radio collars and reduce the environmental impact of long game drives that would be necessary to obtain the same amount of data from one camera trap.
  • 2018: Funds were spent on maintaining the camera traps bought in 2017. Currently, we only have enough camera traps to cover a relatively large area of Buffaloland and a small area of Rietspruit.
  • 2019: Our aim is to increase the number of camera traps through an “Adopt a Camera Trap” programme to cover these missing areas and focus on Balule as it is open to Kruger National Park and has the potential for a large variety of species to be researched.

Big Cat Wildlife Research, Maasai Mara

By | Conservation
Monitoring Big Cats in the Mara provides us with data to understand how to improve the livelihoods of the animals and people surrounding the Conservancy.
The Maasai Mara ecosystem is world renowned as being one of the best places in the world to see big cats. This is due to the rich numbers of wildebeest and antelope that big cats frequently prey on and the annual migration that passes through the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

The loss of wildlife in the area has been devastating in recent years due to increased human settlement in and around the Maasai Mara. The Big Cat project is making conservation efforts based in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy which borders the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Conservation, from African Impact Foundation’s perspective, is aimed at reducing the negative impact of humans on wildlife. Monitoring the path of the Big Cats will help us find answers and supporting data to understand how to improve the livelihoods of the animals and people surrounding the conservancy. Through the purchasing of range-finders, compasses and camera traps we are aiming to collect accurate data on wildlife populations, densities, and local movements.

Short Term Impact:
Range-Finders and Compasses are used to collect accurate data on wildlife populations, densities, and local movements. This data is then fed back into research being conducted by Oxford-Brookes University in an attempt to better understand wildlife population trends across the greater Masai Mara ecosystem.
Camera Traps are used to photograph and identify leopards and other big cats, as well as to improve our understanding of all the different species that occur in Naboisho. They can be used on a transect, collecting daily information for an extended period of time in a set area. This produces the most scientifically robust results. Alternatively, if we suspect an unknown leopard or lion is frequenting an area, strategically placed camera traps would help us capture a number of good images of that individual and help with identification. Identifying big cats is all part of understanding the social dynamics and distribution of these species.

Long Term Impact:
The big cat monitoring data and the plains-game population data are provided freely to the management of Naboisho Conservancy, as well as the various tourism and land-owner stakeholders, to be used for planning and decision-making for the conservation of the area and the land-use options for the greater surrounding ecosystem.

Mara Naboisho Conservancy
The Maasai Mara ecosystem is world renowned as being one of the best places in the world to see big cats. This is due to the rich numbers of wildebeest and antelope that big cats frequently prey on and the annual migration that passes through the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

Achieved So Far:
We are currently fundraising for 8 range-finders, 8 compasses and 6 camera traps at a total target of £2180.