Study

Impact of conservation interventions on the dynamics and persistence of a persecuted leopard (Panthera pardus) population

  • Published source details Balme G.A., Slotow R. & Hunter L.T.B. (2009) Impact of conservation interventions on the dynamics and persistence of a persecuted leopard (Panthera pardus) population. Biological Conservation, 142, 2681–2690

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide education programmes to improve behaviour towards mammals and reduce threats

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Prohibit or restrict hunting of a species

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Provide education programmes to improve behaviour towards mammals and reduce threats

    A before-and-after study in 2002–2009 in a temperate broadleaf forest and grassland site in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Balme et al. 2009) found that educating ranchers on methods for reducing livestock losses, along with implementing stricter hunting policies, increased leopard Panthera pardus density and reduced leopard mortalities. Four years after both livestock husbandry workshops and hunting policy changes were implemented, there were 11.2 leopards/100 km2, compared to 7.1/100km2 in the first year of implementation. Nine leopards were killed during the first three years after livestock husbandry workshops and hunting policy changes were implemented compared to 23 over the previous two years. In January–July 2005, workshops were held to teach improved husbandry techniques to local landowners. Before January 2005 leopards could be killed legally if they had killed livestock. After January 2005 permits were only granted if the same leopard was confirmed (using inspections and camera traps) to have killed three or more livestock within two months and if the landowner could provide evidence that they were trying to reduce attacks on livestock. Thirty-five leopards were radio-collared and monitored between April 2002 and December 2007. Camera traps were used in January–March 2005, January–March 2007, and March–May 2009 to estimate changes in the leopard population size.

    (Summarised by: Matt Rogan)

  2. Prohibit or restrict hunting of a species

    A before-and-after study in 2003–2007, in a mixed woodland and grassland area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Balme et al. 2009) found that increasing legal protection of leopards Panthera pardus along with reducing human-leopard conflict, by promoting improved animal husbandry, was associated with increased leopard survival. The annual mortality rate of leopards in the three years after increased protection and improved husbandry were introduced (12–17%) was lower than during the two previous years (33–47%). Conditions to be met before a permit was issued to kill leopards that predated livestock were tightened in January 2005. New regulations required that there had to be at least three verifiable predation incidents within two months and further livestock protection steps were required. Additionally, selling permits to sports hunters was banned. Workshops in January–July 2005 promoted best practice in protecting livestock from predation (including corralling vulnerable animals, guarding herds, regularly changing grazing paddocks and disposing of carcasses). Twenty-six leopards were monitored by radio-tracking before actions were introduced (2003–2004) and 28 after they were introduced (2005–2007).

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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