Hwange Leopard Project
SPOOR (FOOTPRINT) COUNT TRANSECTS
Where spoor/footprints/tracks of leopard (and competitive carnivores) are counted along specific roads and trails in designated research areas to estimate population densities.
LEOPARD SIGHTINGS REPORTS
In addition to DART's own sightings, DART also receive valuable sightings information from local and overseas tourists, guides, researchers, rangers and other visitors to Hwange National Park
Where fixed flash and infra–red camera traps are used to automatically ‘capture’ photographs of leopards in the study area to assess population density and identify how many males, females, adults and young are in an area. Cameras are set up to photograph both sides of the animals as every leopard has unique natural markings and these can be used to individually identify, age and sex individual animals to determine social groupings (e.g. number of cubs accompanying females) in each study area.
D.A.R.T. works on setting up and moving cameras to best record leopard in the field and then identifies, classifies and updates photographic data collected on these leopards.
Where VHF, GPS & Satellite-tracking telemetry is being used to estimate home-range size and seasonal territorial changes; leopard social interactions; territorial conflicts and competitive carnivore interactions; preferred prey species; diet composition; feeding habits and habitat preferences.
A sample of individual leopards are captured and fitted with GPS Satellite Tracking Collars in various study areas. D.A.R.T. uses radio tracking receivers and aerials to locate leopard and obtain visual sightings.
In addition GPS collar positions indicate the location of various kill sites that are investigated to collect faecal and hair follicle samples to identify diet composition and prey species preference