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 Post subject: Carnivore research - Limpopo National Park - cheetah
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Location: Cape Town / Limpopo National Park
For those interested in some good news out of the Transfrontier Park.....below a recent press release about carnivore research ongoing in Limpopo National Park - so far 12 cheetah in the central part of the Park have been identified including a cub....additionally 4 cubs seen last week on the road near Griyondo (just outside the research area) confirming a well esstablished population in the Park.

The blog on their research http://www.wildedens.org is an interesting read that can be recommended.

Large carnivore research in Parque Nacional do Limpopo

For the past six months biologists Kristoffer and Leah Everatt, from the Centre of Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria have been investigating the status of carnivore populations in Parque Nacional do Limpopo. This three year study is the first scientific investigation of large carnivore status and distribution in the Mozambican portion of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area.
The husband and wife team arrived in early September to establish their first study area in the central region of the park. “We had very little expectations for what we might find in Limpopo, with the Park being in the early stages of its development, and with prey populations being much lower than what are found in other National Parks.”
“Since the resettlement of villages within the park is still in progress, and activities such as cattle herding and bushmeat hunting are still being practiced within some of the core wildlife areas, we expected that lions and other carnivores may be affected by snaring and retaliation killings.”
To meet the challenges inherent to studying such elusive, low-density species in a vast study area, the researchers are adopting a combination of traditional and innovative new survey methods including prey counts, track surveys, call-ups, remote camera-traps and scat surveys using a specially trained detector dog (similar to dogs trained to find explosives).
Already the researchers are gaining valuable information on the status and distribution of large carnivores in the region including the presence of cheetah across the entire sandveld portion of their first study area. Using individual spot patterns from photographs the researchers have identified 10 individuals, including a pregnant female and several multi-male groups. “This is very exciting news, being the first hard evidence of a resident breeding population of cheetah in PNL, and more importantly in Mozambique since being extirpated during the countries years of civil war.”
The researchers have determined that there are four lion prides of 2-7 lions each, occupying about half of the available habitat in the central region of PNL. Although the study has documented lion-cattle conflict, their preliminary findings suggest that lion prides are largely restricted to regions in the park furthest from human settlements. The study has also found evidence that lions are being impacted by human activities, including deaths due to snaring and photographs of lions carrying snares around their necks. Although the researchers have documented a pack of six wild dogs in the park, this Critically Endangered species is considerably less common and the researchers suggest may be more susceptible to local human persecution.
“Despite the challenges of working in a place with little infrastructure, and having to deal with the realities of poaching and human theft of cameras, our project is proving successful and our preliminary results are very encouraging for lion and cheetah conservation in Mozambique. This project illustrates the importance of Transfrontier Parks for these threatened species, and is already bringing positive interest to PNL from the outside conservation community, especially in relation to its potential importance for cheetah conservation. Large carnivores are both crucial to ecosystem health and offer high tourism value, and so the re-establishment of these populations is very promising for the future of the park. “
You can read more about this project at http://www.wildedens.org

Below selected pics from the cameras...

enquisitive cheetah
Image
S1_14-07_March30-April25,2012 (510)[1] by PNL2012, on Flickr

3 cheetah on patrol
Image
cheetah by PNL2012, on Flickr

some elephant
Image
Elephant by PNL2012, on Flickr

leopard are often caught on camera
Image
leopard by PNL2012, on Flickr

lion on patrol
Image
lion by PNL2012, on Flickr

and many other animals to
Image
Baboon by PNL2012, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: Carnivore research - Limpopo National Park - cheetah
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Good news indeed, however the snaring is a huge problem.
Keep us posted.

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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: Carnivore research - Limpopo National Park - cheetah
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:55 am 
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Thanks for sharing this! It is really encouraging but shows there is still a long way to go to get the best outcomes for both the animals and people in and around the park.

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 Post subject: Re: Carnivore research - Limpopo National Park - cheetah
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:57 pm
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Location: Cape Town / Limpopo National Park
At present there are communities living within the core zone of the Park and these challenges will continue to be a reality, although controlled as much as reasonably possible with regular patrolling.

Fortunately cheetah are less affected as they tend to not move along game trails (hence less snaring) and are not scavengers so less exposure to other threats. With a lower carnivore density than KNP they also have a stronger survival prospects - these all cotribute to the excellent results thus far.

Regarding the communities, there is an ongoing est. 4 year resettlement programme to relocate communities to the Buffer Zone - whilst this is a highly topical subject with a certain loss of heritage this should be seen and necessary progress for both Park as communities with communities then receiving 20% share of Park revenues, clinics, schools and irrigation agriculture scheme ownership. Only once relocation is done can the Park be in a more controllable position to effectively manage its conservation area, and of course this will significantly increase the KNP eastern buffer zone......all part of balancing the scales to try ensure everyone benefits.

Incidently there has also been some very encouraging elephant collaring results showing significant movement of elephant between KNP and PNL - upto the limits of the Limpopo and Elefantes rivers where there is higher human influence. This has also been substantiated with good aerial census counts which all provides further scientific evidence of the successful functioning of the Transfrontier Park.


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 Post subject: Re: Carnivore research - Limpopo National Park - cheetah
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:53 am 
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Thanks for that further information octo. :thumbs_up: I would be really interested if you have any links where I could learn more about research in the park. If so please PM me. Thanks.

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