Leopards and caracals 'don't mix'

New research has found that caracals and other small predators generally avoid areas where leopards are found. The study, completed by researchers at the Landmark Foundation, also found leopards mostly live in fynbos habitats, followed by forest habitats. The research was conducted on the Langeberg Mountain Range, between Tradouw’s Pass and Riversdale in the Overberg.

According to supervisor Jeannine McManus, it was also found that leopards do not specifically steer clear of areas where humans live. “Leopards don’t necessarily avoid areas with more human activity such as hiking trails. They are nocturnal and hide during the day.”

Other key results include that they have a broad variety of prey, and don’t simply eat one species. “This makes it possible for them to live in different habitats.” However, the evidence shows that they generally avoid agricultural areas, and areas where they don’t have cover.

The researchers believe the Langeberg Mountain may be used as a corridor between the Knysna Forest and the Cederberg in the west.

The team had placed nearly 30 cameras across the study area. While a total of seven leopards had been found during the study, four had been positively identified between September 2011 and April 2012.



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