Panthera’s Sabi Sand leopard research
Despite inhabiting the most widespread range of habitats, leopards are among the most persecuted big cats in the world. And while it’s often assumed that their conservation status is secure, illegal killings for their skins and other body parts, retaliatory killings due to human wildlife conflict and poorly regulated and managed trophy hunting severely impact their numbers.
Sabi Sand Reserves are home to some of the highest density of leopards found anywhere in the world. A global conservation success story underpinned by a long-standing flagship research and monitoring project, led by Panthera, as the best protected and best studied leopard population in the world.
A well-protected environment and sensitive game-viewing practices have ensured an extremely relaxed demeanour in the leopards in the Sabi Sand Reserve. The Sabi Sand Leopard Project uses the relaxed nature of these leopards and the depth of experience of the many field guides to convert leopard sightings from photographic safaris into high-quality biological data. Here most leopards are viewed at length and are individually identifiable, providing invaluable observations of individuals, their location and behaviours are collected daily. These data can then be used to answer ecological, behavioural and management questions and inform conservation at other sites where leopards are under threat.
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve, home to Singita’s founding Lodge, is home to one of the world’s best protected and high-density leopard populations. Panthera Partnership Leopard Research