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Complementing GPS Cluster Analysis with Activity Data for Studies of Leopard (Panthera pardus) Diet


Fröhlich, Marlen; Berger, Anne; Kramer-Schadt, Stephanie; Heckmann, Ilja; Martins, Quinton (2012). Complementing GPS Cluster Analysis with Activity Data for Studies of Leopard (Panthera pardus) Diet. South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 42(2):104-110.

Abstract

Despite their wide distribution, feeding habits of leopards, Panthera pardus, outside savanna and forest habitats are poorly understood. We explored a novel approach of combining both GPS cluster and activity data analysis to study the hunting activity of a single female leopard in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. Positions and acceleration data were obtained using a Vectronic GPS-PLUS collar. In total, 1760 GPS positions with a fix success of 87% were obtained between June 2008 and February 2009. Fifty-four of 78 potential kill sites identified from GPS data records were investigated 171 ± 91 days (mean ± S.D.) after the potential predation event which resulted in the detection of prey remains at 31 sites (success rate of 57.4%). Activity pattern was different at small-kill (rock hyrax; Hewitt's rock rabbit, Pronolagus saundersiae) sites compared to large-kill (antelope) sites, although data did not achieve significance (P = 0.07). Results of frequency analyses of activity data allowed the differentiation between feeding and non-feeding activity. The combination of different methods such as GPS telemetry and activity measurement provides a valuable means for detecting kill sites in rugged and largely inaccessible regions where direct observations and scat collection are difficult.

Abstract

Despite their wide distribution, feeding habits of leopards, Panthera pardus, outside savanna and forest habitats are poorly understood. We explored a novel approach of combining both GPS cluster and activity data analysis to study the hunting activity of a single female leopard in the Cederberg Mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. Positions and acceleration data were obtained using a Vectronic GPS-PLUS collar. In total, 1760 GPS positions with a fix success of 87% were obtained between June 2008 and February 2009. Fifty-four of 78 potential kill sites identified from GPS data records were investigated 171 ± 91 days (mean ± S.D.) after the potential predation event which resulted in the detection of prey remains at 31 sites (success rate of 57.4%). Activity pattern was different at small-kill (rock hyrax; Hewitt's rock rabbit, Pronolagus saundersiae) sites compared to large-kill (antelope) sites, although data did not achieve significance (P = 0.07). Results of frequency analyses of activity data allowed the differentiation between feeding and non-feeding activity. The combination of different methods such as GPS telemetry and activity measurement provides a valuable means for detecting kill sites in rugged and largely inaccessible regions where direct observations and scat collection are difficult.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:1 October 2012
Deposited On:30 Jan 2019 17:15
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:53
Publisher:South African Bureau for Scientific Publications
ISSN:0379-4369
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3957/056.042.0208

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