Estimating leopard density across the highly modified human-dominated landscape of the Western Cape, South Africa
Devens, Carolyn H
Hayward, Matt W
McManus, Jeannine S
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Apex predators play a critical role in maintaining the health of ecosystems but are highly susceptible to habitat degradation and loss caused by land-use changes, and to anthropogenic mortality. The leopard Panthera pardus is the last free-roaming large carnivore in the Western Cape province, South Africa. During –, we carried out a camera-trap survey across three regions covering c. , km of the Western Cape. Our survey comprised camera sites sampling nearly , camera-trap nights, resulting in the identification of individuals. We used two spatially explicit capture–recapture methods (R programmes secr and SPACECAP) to provide a comprehensive density analysis capable of incorporating environmental and anthropogenic factors.