Hi. My name is Rogan Fourie, I am a South African PhD student researching Leopard ecology in Zimbabwe.
Leopards are an iconic species, part of Africa's "Big 5". Yet, it is estimated that leopards only occupy 25-37% of their historic range globally. Leopard populations across the world are threatened by a loss of habitat, over-utilisation, illegal poaching and human – wildlife conflict due to predation on livestock. Understanding the dynamics and ecology of leopard populations is therefore essential for understanding how we can successfully and effectively conserve them.
My study site in Zimbabwe is an area utilized for commercial cattle farming, as well as trophy hunting of various species, including leopards.
My project involves using several methods to capture data, including:
- Camera Trap Surveys
- Fitting GPS collars to leopards to track their movements and habitat use
- Diet analysis
- Using historic data to create models to determine the sustainability of trophy hunting
With the continuing pressures of trophy hunting, human – leopard conflict and habitat fragmentation, there is a lack of information as to how these pressures affect leopard populations. I aim to use the data collected during my research to address this lack of information, as well as offer a unique insight into ways in which we can conserve leopard populations, alongside trophy hunting and commercial farming.
I am looking for extra funds to assist with funding my research. These funds will go towards fuel, upkeep and maintenance of my fieldwork vehicle, living costs while in the field and purchasing equipment (such as GPS collars, camera traps and lab equipment) to enhance my research. Any donation, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated and put towards helping better understand how we can successfully conserve this elusive and beautiful creature.