Abstract

The Nambiti Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is a nature reserve that aids in the conservation of some of the world’s most renown species. This includes members of the "Big Five," which is comprised of the African lion (Panthera leo), the African elephant (Loxidonta africana), the Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), the black & white rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis and Ceratotherium simum, respectively), and the African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus). These animals represent the top five African animals desired by trophy hunters and by tourists hoping to view wildlife (Caro & Riggio, 2014). While studies concerning the African leopard population status have been completed on surrounding game reserves (Balme et al., 2009; Chapman & Balme, 2010), there have not been any studies done investigating the African leopard population on Nambiti. It is important that the population on Nambiti be identified since conservation management of leopards is largely influenced by their population numbers. For example, southern African countries rely on population estimates to establish trophy hunting quotas (Balme et al., 2010). Furthermore, knowledge on the reserve's leopard population can also lead to ecotourism benefits by attracting tourists to visit areas of known leopard activity (Lindsey et al., 2007). This case study investigated baited camera trapping footage, obtained by Nambiti rangers between May 2015 – May 2017, to determine the African leopard population on Nambiti. Camera footage results revealed that there were four leopards identified in six different locations on the reserve between May 2015 – May 2017. Baited Location J in the Western region of the reserve showed the greatest amount of leopard activity, indicating that it is the baited location most likely to provide ecotourism benefits. Furthermore, 23 non-target species were identified from the camera trapping footage, providing insight into the reserve's biodiversity, prey availability, and competition among predators.

Thesis Completion

2018

Semester

Spring

Thesis Chair

Borgon, Robert

Degree

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

College

College of Medicine

Department

Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences

Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Language

English

Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

5-1-2018

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