Study the perceptions and reality of human versus wildlife conflict in the mountains of South Africa while living side-by-side with leopards, monkeys, and other mammals under growing threat.
Across Africa, conflict between humans and animals is rising due to increased habitat fragmentation resulting from human activities. Nevertheless, the magnificent Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa support one of the highest leopard densities in Africa. Although these beautiful cats remain elusive, their abundance brings them into contact and conflict with humans. Similarly, monkeys (which include baboons) thrive within the mountains, but their adaptable nature and willingness to exploit cultivated crops brings them into conflict with farmers.
Help researchers understand the ecology of these charismatic species, as well as the factors that drive and mitigate conflict between humans and wildlife. Despite the leopard's bad reputation, primates are often cited as a major pest species by many landowners. Since some of these primates are critical prey species for leopards, studying these animals at the same time is important for understanding how their populations interact with each other and with the human population.
Economic losses for farmers undermine local conservation efforts. Determining the extent of these conflicts and examining ways for farmers and these primates to coexist is essential for conserving both species diversity and local livelihoods in the area.