Leopard Research Project

Due to the elusive nature of these animals, leopards (Panthera pardus) are seldom seen on Lissataba. Any evidence of their movements is recorded on a data sheet, including tracks, drag marks for kills and photos from the camera traps. Since the project began in 2010, the population structure of these animals on the reserve appears to be ever changing. Between 2010 and 2012, an abundance of males were identified. A total of 6 leopard toms were recorded, with 4 of them being fully grown adults and two adolescents. It is unlikely that Lissataba can permanently support so many males and it was thought that many of them were transient, moving between Lissataba and neighbouring reserves. Since the beginning of 2013 however, only one male ‘Male 6’ has been identified on the property and he has been seen on almost every corner of the reserve. Did this male fight for dominance and kill the other males? Or did he just displace them? It is very exciting and intriguing to see these changes over time and offers us an opportunity to learn more about the leopard demographics and behaviours in our area.