Nakedi works to obtain accurate data on leopard abundance in Kruger National Park. Photo courtesy of Stephen Ham.
The objectives of this leopard project are to:
A) Calibrate the use of camera traps as viable tools to use in estimating leopard abundances in the Greater Kruger National Park Ecosystem;
B) Use lessons learned to survey the rest of the Kruger Park;
C) Investigate space use by leopards relative to lions and spotted hyaenas;
D) Investigate diet overlap between leopards, lions, and hyaenas;
E) Investigate dispersal patterns in leopards using genetics; and
F) Prepare a leopard management strategy.
To this point, we have managed to determine the viability of using camera traps as tools to estimate leopard abundance. We have almost finished using past lessons learned to survey Kruger Park, except that we are now using different statistical packages to analyze the data we collected in just over two years and we are preparing a manuscript for publication.
We are now busy investigating the spacial use of leopards and we hope to soon start on investigating diet overlap of leopards, lions, and hyaenas.
Joining AWF in 2007, Nakedi is the latest addition to AWF's team of species researchers in Africa. Working in the Limpopo region, where he's from, Nakedi's studying the great cats to shape conservation strategies that will benefit communities he's known all his life. Looking at Nakedi's focus areas as a zoologist – Cytogenetics, Molecular Biology, and Geometric Morphometrics – it's easy to see he is serious about conservation. Leopards as a species especially interested him because they are both powerful and elusive – making it a challenge to study and protect them.
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