Calibrating a camera trap-based biased mark-recapture sampling design to survey the leopard population in the N'wanetsi concession, Kruger National Park, South Africa

09 Sep 2013

Estimating large carnivore abundance can be challenging. A biased leopard (Panthera pardus) population survey was conducted in the N’wanetsi concession in the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, using motion-sensitive camera traps from April to August 2008. Survey effort included 88 trapping occasions and 586 trap days. The survey yielded 24 leopard photographs, comprising fourteen adults of eleven males and three females. The capture rate was determined to be 24.4 trap days per leopard. Estimates of population abundance stabilized at approximately 500 trap days. Precision of population estimates began to stabilize after 378 trap days. We estimated that there were nineteen leopards in an area of 150 km2. Leopard density was estimated at 12.7 leopards per 100 km2. We explore the possibility of employing the methods used in this study to survey the leopard population in the KNP and surrounding areas.