Singita Sabi Sand, a concession within the larger Sabi Sand Wildtuin in South Africa, is home to one of the world’s best-protected leopard populations. An astonishing 9,000 sightings of 142 individual leopards were recorded in the Sabi Sand region last year, making the area an obvious choice for important big cat research that allows conservation companies like Singita to employ the best strategies for ensuring the long-term survival of the species.

Camera trap leopard survey at Singita Sabi Sand

To this end, Singita has an ongoing relationship with Panthera, whose comprehensive conservation projects protect wild cats and their ecosystems in 47 countries around the world. The latest of these projects began earlier this month, when a 45-day camera-trap survey commenced in the Sabi Sand. Remotely-triggered camera-traps are now widely used to estimate leopard population densities; knowledge which is key to informing leopard conservation policies and assessing the effectiveness of management decisions. Until now, few estimates of undisturbed populations existed, which makes the survey’s location in the highly protected Sabi Sand all the more significant. Such data are crucially required to act as reference points to establish the ecological carrying capacity of populations i.e. how many leopards there should be in a system in the absence of anthropogenic pressure.

Camera trap leopard survey at Singita Sabi Sand

Researcher Lisa Thomas, previously a Singita field guide and now Panthera’s Monitoring Field Technician, is responsible for setting up and checking the cameras used in the survey. An area of 100km2 will be covered, with 36 camera stations spaced roughly 2km apart, producing tens of thousands of images. Each station will comprise two Panthera V6 digital camera-traps positioned opposite each other to photograph both flanks of the animal, and each fitted with a 2GB internal micro SD card. Visiting the stations once every five days, Lisa will check the cameras are functioning correctly, replace the batteries and download new images, before cataloguing the findings according to date, time, station location, species, and number of individuals captured.

Camera trap leopard survey at Singita Sabi Sand

Upon completion of the survey, Panthera typically spend two months compiling a detailed report on the vast number of images and other statistical data; a report which is also then shared with Singita. It is hoped that the information gathered in this project will provide a rare estimate of leopard density under natural conditions, establish an important baseline for Panthera’s past and current studies, and contribute to South Africa’s National Leopard Monitoring Programme. It is also a wonderful opportunity for Singita to participate in the conservation of one of Africa’s most iconic species, and the biodiversity of our Sabi Sand concession.

Camera trap leopard survey at Singita Sabi Sand

As well as working with strategic partners like Panthera, Singita Sabi Sand’s dedicated conservation team is tasked with ensuring that the land, complete with its diverse flora and fauna, remains as close as possible to the untouched state in which it was found. You can visit the Conservation section of our website to learn more about how this is achieved, or read this blog post for more details on Singita’s relationship with Panthera: Supporting Spotted Cat Conservation at Singita »

Similar blog Posts

Driving Clean Solar Energy in the Kruger National Park

“As evidence of a largely human-driven crisis of biodiversity loss grows, it may seem as though sustainable development cannot include wildlife conservation. But the work of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other major wildlife and biodiversity conventions shows that implementing a global framework for conservation…

Read More

Preserving the Fragile Beauty of Rwanda’s Indigenous Orchids

With its rich volcanic soil, cool temperatures and mossy cloud forests, the Land of a Thousand Hills is prime habitat for one of the world’s most beautiful and fragile flowering plant species: the orchid. One of the conservation projects at Singita Volcanoes National Park on the northern border of Rwanda is dedicated to preserving this…

Read More

Lodges and Camps



Videos from Singita

Latest Video

Singita Malilangwe House

Set on a picturesque sandstone ridge in Zimbabwe’s remote Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve and offering unfiltered space and time for deepened connections with nature, family and friends, Singita Malilangwe House is an exclusive-use villa with five expansive bedrooms – each with its own private deck. Here, guests have the relaxed freedom to enjoy tailormade stays catering to their every need and simply be present in each moment. Providing the stillness they seek, it’s the ultimate sanctuary in which to awaken the senses and restore the soul; and with private access to restorative experiences in 130,000 acres of untouched wilderness, it welcomes a profound sense of wellbeing, leaving them renewed, restored and inspired.

Community & Conservation
A Wildlife Showcase
All Videos