Panthera Partnership Leopard Research
Singita works alongside Panthera to assist with its long-term studies of leopard density and behaviour.
Leopards are one of the most adaptable and resilient of the world’s large carnivores, and as a result, it is often assumed that the conservation status of the species is secure. However, like many other species, illegal hunting, habitat loss and the bushmeat trade are having a negative impact on leopard numbers.
In recent years Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organisation, has run camera trap surveys to determine leopard density across the species’ range in South Africa and some neighbouring countries. Many of these surveys have, however, been outside formally protected areas or in small reserves where proximity to human threats can negatively impact leopard density.
Singita’s Sabi Sand guides have for many years been providing data to Panthera about the reserve’s individually known leopards. This data suggests that this is one of the world’s best-protected leopard populations.
In 2017, Singita partnered with Panthera to run a camera trap survey on our land in the Sabi Sand to benchmark what is ecologically possible in terms of leopard density in a stable, well-protected population. The results of the survey were enlightening; at 12.2 leopards per 100km2, this is the highest density yet recorded by a Panthera survey.
Following the success of this partnership and concerns raised about potential poaching threats to Kruger National Park’s leopards, Singita and Panthera will run a further four surveys in Kruger, including Singita’s concession, as well as one on Karingani Game Reserve in neighbouring Mozambique, in 2018.
Singita Lowveld Trust
In South Africa, the Singita Lowveld Trust manages a wide range of conservation projects in Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park – from anti-poaching initiatives to wildlife research & land management, sustainability efforts and community partnership projects such as early childhood development, digital learning and a world-class culinary school.
A highly skilled team of tracking dogs and handlers enhance anti-poaching efforts in the Sabi Sand Reserve, while the Trust’s partnership with the global conservation NGO Panthera has shown that the area is home to the largest density of leopards of any protected area surveyed in South Africa. The Panthera’s Furs for Life project – of which Singita is a partner – has reduced the demand for leopard skins with 50%.