The Tribes Foundation is pleased to be supporting this excellent conservation project in South Africa. Like so many good ideas it stems from the passion of the individuals involved and in this particular case Will and Carol Fox of Paperbark Bush Retreat in Lydenburg have dedicated their lives to conducting research to protect these wonderful cats. And the elusive black leopard has tremendous appeal as a rare and little understood creature.
The Ingwe Leopard Project is a research project operating under the auspice of PAW (Protecting African Wildlife) Conservation Trust and in association with Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. The ILP conducts research into the behaviour of leopards (Panthera pardus) and other carnivores, outside formally protected areas (National Parks and Nature Reserves) in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
Data on the density and behaviour of Leopards outside formally protected areas does not currently exist in any credible format, leaving a gap in understanding. Substantiated data is required to assist in the formulation of wildlife management policies.
Ingwe Leopard Project research methods enable the study of leopard density, behaviour and population dynamic, taking into account the likely variables.
The key reason for this research is to assist in the formulation of wildlife management policies, using scientifically gathered and recorded data. It is essential that management practices be established to address the issues that surround the conflict between people and predators.
All data is compiled will form part of an overall study of the leopard population in Mpumalanga. The results from this overall provincial study will also be reported to the reserve management and to MTPA via PAW Conservation Trust.
Furthermore the ILP aims at development and assistance of eco-tourism potential and bringing conservation closer to previously disadvantaged people whom are also impacting on these resources
In April 2016 The Tribes Foundation purchased two cameras for Ingwe Leopard Research to be used in camera traps. As well as allowing the project to monitor leopard populations, it also enables them to provide a live-stream of photos to local school children and others who can help researchers identify species and individual leopards.
The research gathered will be shared and will assist policy makers in making informed decisions regarding leopard conservation. The local school children and citizen scientists who participate in the project will benefit in learning about biodiversity conservation, and hopefully enrich their future perceptions of environmental issues.